What are more interesting, word palindromes or DNA palindromes?
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 96 22:54:43 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: What are more interesting, word palindromes or DNA palindromes?
[FYI, "antiparallel" means parallel, but oppositely oriented; in French you
might say "a la soixante-neuf." -psl]
From: Daniel Lockshon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm not sure if this is widely known among non-Molecular
Biologist types, but DNA sequence palindromes have long fascinated us
sequence gazers, and are biologically important besides. Recall that A
pairs with T and C pairs with G to give two complementary strands of
DNA. Also remember that the strands have direction and that the two
strands of a double helix are anti-parallel. So, consider the strand
with the sequence
Because it is palindromic, it can pair with a second strand of exactly
the same sequence. Or, it can pair with itself to make a half-length
hairpin. Us fans of DNA palindromes like to think of these as the real
palindromes since they have actual two-fold rotational symetry. Those
word palindromes are, well, cute I guess.
I could go on and on about this if anyone out there cared, but
I'll just leave it alone for now. I once tried to tell Baby Gramps about
this (a local [Seattle] legend) but he didn't seem to relate. He has
composed some impressive ones.
[Impressive DNA palindromes? Or self-mating half-length hairpins? -psl]
© 1996 Peter Langston