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14 April, 17:19

If you were to take all of the DNA from all of the chromosomes in your body and stitch them all together into one continuous linear double helix, how long would that helix be? Use the fact that the haploid human genome contains 3.3 x 109 bp of DNA to make your calculation (and remember that human cells are diploid!). Assume that the human body contains 1013 cells. Show your work (with all appropriate unit conversions) and express your answer in solar units (1 solar unit = distance from earth to the sun = 9.1 x 107 miles).

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  1. 14 April, 17:43
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    152.88 solar unit.

    Explanation:

    The haploid genome content of the human cell is 3.3 x 10⁹ bp but the human cell is diploid.

    So, the content of the diploid cell = 2 * 3.3 x 10⁹ = 6.6*10⁹ bp/cell.

    1 cell contains DNA = 6.6*10⁹ bp/cell.

    10¹³ cell DNA content = 10¹³ x 6.6*10⁹ = 6.6 x 10²² or 6.6 x 10¹⁹ kilo base pairs.

    1 kilobase pair of DNA = 340nm = 340 * 10⁻⁹m.

    6.6 x 10¹⁹ kilo base pairs of DNA = 340 * 10⁻⁹ * 6.6 x 10¹⁹ = 2244 x 10¹⁰m.

    1 meter = 6.2 * 10⁻⁴ miles.

    2244 x 10¹⁰m = 6.2 * 10⁻⁴ * 2244 x 10¹⁰m = 13912.8 * 10⁶ miles.

    1 solar unit = 9.1 x 10⁷miles.

    Then 13912.8 * 10⁶ miles = 13912.8 * 10⁶ miles / 9.1 x 10⁷miles = 152.88 solar unit.

    Total human DNA in terms of solar unit = 152.88 solar unit

    Thus, the answer is 152.88 solar unit.
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