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Maths of Planet Earth | Limitless Applications

Classroom Resources Screen shot 2013-11-08 at 2.17.55 PM

Published on November 18th, 2013 | by Daphane Ng




An organism’s DNA consists of a sequence of molecular subunits called nucleotides that can each be represented by one of the letters A, T, G or C. Suppose the six nucleotides in the order ACCTGG appear somewhere in the sequence. The following questions explore some of the possible ways that the DNA molecule can mutate.

a) If exactly one of these six letters were to be replaced by a different letter, how many possible new sequences could be formed?

b) If one of these six letters were duplicated (e.g. A replaced by AA), how many possible new length-7 sequences could be formed?

c) If one of these six letters were deleted, how many possible new length-5 sequences could be formed?

d) If a new letter were inserted somewhere among the six letters (including at the start or end), how many new length-7 sequences could be formed?

Question created by Chaitanya Rao, Daniel Mathews, Norman Do and Michael Evans


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