A Code for Carolyn: A Genomic Thriller
Carolyn looked out over the lecture theatre, a sea of bent heads facing her as students scribbled notes on tablets or docfilm. She lifted a docfilm notebook and shook it. “Imagine this notebook is your DNA. Each time a new copy is made, the ends get just a little bit shorter.” She tore a page of the grey docfilm out from the front and back. This analogy had worked better the way she had seen it in her student days, when people wrote on paper instead of docfilm. She scrubbed the top left corners of the sheets with a magnet, covering the time with some extra patter. “Remember, this is because DNA polymerase can’t copy that last little bit at the linear end, under the terminal RNA primer.” Finally, the pages went pink: disconnected. She lifted the pair.