# Genetic Information 1

February 1 2012 at 4:17 PM
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Genetic Information 1

Information never self-assembles. The genetic information in the DNA of each human cell is roughly equivalent to a library of 4,000 books (a).

a. Carl Sagan showed, using straight-forward calculations, why one cell’s worth of genetic information is the equivalent of 4,000 books of printed information. Each of Sagan’s 4,000 books had 500 pages with 300 words per page. (See Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 25.)

Each book would have a volume of about 50 cubic inches. An adult human’s body contains about 10^14 cells. About 800 cubic miles have been eroded from the Grand Canyon. Therefore, we can say that if every cell in one person’s body were reduced to 4,000 books, they would fill the Grand Canyon 98 times.

The Moon is 240,000 miles from Earth. If the DNA in a human cell were stretched out and connected, it would be more than 7 feet long. If all this DNA in one person’s body were placed end-to-end, it would extend to the Moon 552,000 times.

The DNA in a human cell weighs 6.4 x 10^-12 (10 to the –12 power) grams. [See Monroe W. Strickberger, Genetics, 2nd edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976), p. 54.] Probably less than 50 billion people have lived on earth. If so, one copy of the DNA of every human who ever lived—enough to define the physical characteristics of all those people in microscopic detail—would weigh only 6.4 × 10^-12 × 50 × 10^9 = 0.32 grams.
This is less than the weight of one aspirin.

“... there is enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over....There is enough storage capacity in the DNA of a single lily seed or a single salamander sperm to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica 60 times over. Some species of the unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclopaedia Britannicas.” Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, pp. 116–117.

Truth Frees!

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