This will sound as a super stupid question, but I just read in the Molecular biology of the gene book (7th edition, Watson, Baker, Bell and al.) that one mistake occurs in 10 million nucleotides added during the replication of DNA.

However, I read in the Campbell's biology book (11th edition) that it is one mistake in 10 billion nucleotides added.

I tried to google it and kept finding these two numbers... probably because people use the same books as I do as sources. So, my question is the following: which book is right about DNA replication precision?

Thanks for your help and sorry if my question isn't very interesting.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you provide some longer passages from those books? I suspect one is reporting the number of errors before correction, and the other is reporting the number of errors after. That said, you should consider either number as a very rough approximation to within a couple orders of magnitude to interpret it generally. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 28 '18 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, what organism are the books considering? Different organisms have different mutation rates. Trying to get something meaningful from these random numbers is useless. $\endgroup$ – notorious Aug 29 '18 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ The precision of DNA replication is determined by the fidelity of DNA polymerase, which depends, in part, on its proof-reading capacity. The ratio of correct:incorrect nucleotide insertions ranges from 10^3 (extremely low fidelity) to 10^10 (extremely high fidelity). $\endgroup$ – user37894 Aug 29 '18 at 11:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.