re: computer virus

Gatherer, D. (
Thu, 4 Nov 1999 09:18:34 +0100

From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: re: computer virus
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 09:18:34 +0100

One of the highest spontaneous mutation rates per gamete per sexual
generation, is at the yellow body locus in Drosophila where it is as high as
1 in 10,000, but of course the yellow body locus is probably a few thousand
bases in length, so that would be a rate of about 1 in 20 million bases per
gamete per generation.

At the other extreme, the streptomycin sensitivity locus in E.Coli is only 1
in a billion per cell per division, or about 1 in 2000 billion bases.

These figures neglect neutral mutations eg. mutations which are unobservable
in terms of phenotype, so for the sake of caution we could cut them by an
order of magnitude, and say that the lowest fidelity biological system is
one error per 2 million bits, and the highest is one error per 200 billion

Are self-replicating computer programs higher fidelity than that?

Figures from Sager R and Ryan FJ (1961) Cell Heredity, Wiley, New York.

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