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In class of molecular biology was posed this question:

"How many reading frames start in sequence of nucleotides 5' ... ATATGAATGATGACAT... 3' ?"

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Please edit your post to 1) reflect your question (I assume it is "How many reading frames begin in the following sequence?") and 2) show what work you have done so far, or your thoughts on the topic. – dd3 Mar 5 '13 at 21:45
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Every nucleotide sequence has six possible reading frames, because each codon (determining one amino acid) consists of a base triplet (3 frames), and there is a complementary strand which could be coding (3 reverse frames).

To find the possible open reading frames contained in your sequence, you have to look for start codons. That is: ATG. But, as said the complementary strand could be coding. So if your known sequence contains CAT, that would be ATG on the opposite strand and might also be an open reading frame.

Count them now and then read on to compare answers.

Your specific sequence contains four start codons (3x ATG and 1x CAT, which makes ATG on the complementary reverse).

5' ... AT ATG A ATG ATG A CAT ... 3'

3' ... TA TAC T TAC TAC T GTA ... 5'

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Whoops, how embarrassing - thanks for the correction! :) – Armatus Mar 7 '13 at 0:26

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