Imagine that a probe sent to Mars brings back a sample that contains a very primitive life-form that appears similar to bacteria. Scientists are able to revive it and begin to grow it in culture. Much to their amazement, they discover that the organism has DNA and that the DNA encodes proteins. However, the DNA of these Martian microbes contains only two nucleotides, and these nucleotides contain bases that are not present in the DNA of organisms on Earth. If the Martian microbe uses triplet codons, what is the maximum number of different amino acids that it can have in its proteins? Explain.

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    7, because there are 8 possible codons (23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8) but at least one of the codons must be a stop.
    16, because 42 = 4 x 4 = 16
    8, because 23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8
    9, because 32 = 3 x 3 = 9

asked May 30, 2013 in Biology by anonymous
    

1 Answer

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7, because there are 8 possible codons (23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8) but at least one of the codons must be a stop.
answered May 31, 2013 by Bioshare ~Top Expert~ (34,070 points)

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