Fun_People Archive
12 Jan
What are more interesting, word palindromes or DNA palindromes?

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 96 22:54:43 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: What are more interesting, word palindromes or DNA palindromes?

[FYI, "antiparallel" means parallel, but oppositely oriented; in French you  
might say "a la soixante-neuf."  -psl]

From: Daniel Lockshon <>

Dear Funpeople,
	I'm not sure if this is widely known among non-Molecular
Biologist types, but DNA sequence palindromes have long fascinated us
sequence gazers, and are biologically important besides.  Recall that A
pairs with T and C pairs with G to give two complementary strands of
DNA.  Also remember that the strands have direction and that the two
strands of a double helix are anti-parallel.  So, consider the strand
with the sequence


Because it is palindromic, it can pair with a second strand of exactly
the same sequence.  Or, it can pair with itself to make a half-length
hairpin.  Us fans of DNA palindromes like to think of these as the real
palindromes since they have actual two-fold rotational symetry.  Those
word palindromes are, well, cute I guess.
	I could go on and on about this if anyone out there cared, but
I'll just leave it alone for now.  I once tried to tell Baby Gramps about
this (a local [Seattle] legend) but he didn't seem to relate.  He has
composed some impressive ones.

[Impressive DNA palindromes?  Or self-mating half-length hairpins?  -psl]

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