Monday, August 22, 2005



All so different, also the same -
RNA - the ribosome frame,

Hid within the protein curtain,
These exquisite, yet uncertain
Amino acid arrangers -
Close like parents', far like strangers'
Faces, though each with eyes and mouth,
Never a match from north to south.

This code defined by bases four,
Greatest secret of living lore,
Falls within the realm of base two
And subject to a science new.

So by a human written code,
Made of TEST and BRANCH, STORE and LOAD,
Four-fold film blots keeping all vexed,
Are numbered, then hashed and indexed.

As cards of a bridge-playing crank
Are ordered by suit and by rank,
They're sorted: U, C, G, and A
Point to the list place each must stay.

The problem size might make some fear,
(By hand taking many a year)
But now the work is beginning,
Already new facts we're winning.

Written July 14, 1992
Published as part of my doctoral dissertation, approved April 5,1994

Note: I used the word "uncertain" to indicate we (in 1992) were not "certain" about how the ribosome works. Now that it's some 13 years later, I'll check into what more we've learned. I mention this in case someone is thinking "Heisenberg". NOPE! We're in computer science now, Dr. Biologist, Dr. Physicist, Dr. Philosopher - you play by my rules or I'll take my INTERNET and go home... (hee hee) and you can all go back to doing it by hand on paper. Have fun, but play nice.


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