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Probability of a given mutation

  1. Feb 1, 2010 #1
    Consider the DNA of a human.

    How many single, individual, molecular mutations are possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2010 #2
    ummm about 3.1 billion or so? :wink:
  4. Feb 1, 2010 #3
    That's just how many basepairs there are in the human genome. The amount of mutations possible from this is simply staggering. We also have to remember that humans are diploid so we have TWO sets of the genome in us from our parents.

    Why do you pose this question?
  5. Feb 2, 2010 #4
    I'm am an armchair enthusiast (not a biologist). I like writing computer programs that model stochastic processes. Right now I am getting comfortable with probabilities for successful mutations. Next I need to get onboard with sequences of similar mutations that bring about gradual change over several generations.

    Each element of each base pair can have one of many nucleotides, so the mutiplicity of possible mutations for a specific basepair (one of the 3 billion), must itself compound the number of possibilities for a single mutation event. I don't know the number of possible parings of nucleitides that could in fact comprise a single base pair's multiplicity. If it were only binary we would already have 12 billion possibilities.
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