Newtonian<br />"<font color="yellow">How are you mathematically quantifying the information contained in DNA?</font><br /><br />DNA is series of steps like a ladder that can have one of four configurations at each rung. The molecule has 3,200,000,000 of these steps. We might label these rungs A, T, C, and G if we use the first letter of the name of the chemical constructing them.<br /><br />If I had just one rung to the ladder, I could specify one of four pieces of information. With a second rung I could specify 16 pieces of information by using any one of these 16 combinations:<br />GG, GC, GT, GA<br />CG, CC, CT, CA<br />TG, TC, TT, TA<br />AG, AC, AT, AA<br /><br />If I were to add a third rung to the ladder I could specify any one of 64 pieces of information ranging from GGG to AAA. The formula to determine how many pieces of information I can specify would be the number of different configurations of any one rung of the ladder, 4, raised to the power of the number of rungs in the system. For DNA we would raise 4 to the 3,200,000,000th power.<br /><br />Since most calculators freak out at numbers this large, we're allowed to cheat a little to get an estimate of the number. We multiple the log of 4, which is 0.6, by 3,200,000,000 to get 1,900,000,000. This represents the number of zeros in the answer, not the significant digits. This number is so huge that it could be 50 million times bigger, or only a 50 millionth as large, before it is no longer the same size.