Kinetic and probabilistic thinking in accuracy



The cell contains thousands of molecular species in permanent motion. The nucleic acids breathe. The proteins fold and unfold. Groups of atoms swing or rotate. Charges jump from one place to the other in the molecule. The environment threatens the cell in many ways. Yet the cell is able to reproduce itself accurately and to remain essentially unchanged throughout millions of generations. When DNA, the key molecule of heredity, is manufactured by the assembly of millions or billions of its elementary subunits, there may be less than one error in ten billion per added subunit. What are then the strategies used by the cell to achieve such a high degree of precision with rather unreliable components?


Reaction Scheme Molecular Process Exonuclease Activity Nonsense Suppression Foreign Molecule 
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