[Beowulf] e: Supercomputing comes to the Daily Mail

mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Mon Aug 14 12:42:37 PDT 2017

On 14 Aug 2017 John Hearns <hearnsj at googlemail.com> wrote:
> I would be a bit more concerned about radiation doses to the personnel!
> This is well studied of course, and I believe DNA has its own ECC 
> codes.

There are mechanisms for repairing DNA but none are very similar to the 
way ECC works.  The closest to that I think are the modes of single 
strand repair which remove damaged bases on one side and then replace 
them with the base(s) complementary to the undamaged one(s) on the other 
strand.  Those use "extra information" to repair an error, but there is 
no checksum, or anything remotely similar, just enzymes that recognize 
damaged DNA bases and act on them.

Deinococcus radiodurans apparently takes this sort of repair a step 
farther.  By keeping two copies of its genome (which is unusual in 
little beasties like this) it can repair one copy with sequence from the 
other.  We also have two copies of our genomes (not quite identical, one 
from each parent) but we don't have the same repair mechanism, as far as 
I know, and so we are not nearly as resistant to radiation as that 


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

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