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Simple problems in genetics.

It is a good idea to check the assertion that 1.27 X 10 to the 30th power double-stranded DNA molecules of 100 base pairs each would weigh almost 140,000 tons.

Hint: Start by using Avogadro's number (listed below) to determine how many moles of DNA are represented by this large number of base pairs. Assume an average mass of 300 g per mole of nucleotide.

Avogadro's number = The number of atoms in exactly 12 g of C-12.

12.21

In 2000, the Human Genome Project completed the sequence for all the base pairs at least to the level of a "rough draft." What are likely to be some of the problems with the early version? Are there any ways to know if there were mistakes? In 2001, scientists completed the genetic maps of a weed, the thale cress plant, and the bacterium that causes cholera. Are there any of these accomplishments useful to the sequence data for humans?

12.24

The late Isaac Asmiov, noted science fiction writer and biochemist, co-authored this verse, called "The Misunderstood Clone."

Oh, give me a clone
Of my own flesh and bone
With its Y chromosome changed to an X.
And when it has grown
Then my own little clone
Will be of the opposite sex.

Evaluate whether the verse is actually describing gene therapy or cloning. Support your answer with an explanation of the two different processes.

12.25

James D. Watson of DNA fame had this to say about manipulating germ cells to create super persons, "When they are finally attempted, germ-line genetic manipulations will probably be done to change a death sentence into a life verdict - by creating children who are resistant to a deadly virus, for example, much the same way we can already protect plants from viruses by inserting antiviral DNA segments into their genomes."

Draft a statement supporting or opposing Watson's position on this issue.

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