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The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who had some background in computer science.The conversation shifted towards my research and the following question came up: What is the amount of digital information stored in a human genome?
Each sperm cell in a human male is heterogametic and haploid, meaning that it contains only one of two sex chromosomes (X or Y) and only one set of the 22 autosomal chromosomes.
In order to represent the entire diploid human genome in terms of bytes, we can perform the following calculations: ! For example, how many megabytes of genetic data are stored in the human body?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s ignore the microbiome (all non-human cells that live in our body), and focus only on the cells that make up our body.
These 0 and 1 bits are usually grouped together to form a larger unit, with the smallest being a “byte” that represents 8 bits.
We can denote each base pair using a minimum of 2 bits, which yields 4 different bit combinations (00, 01, 10, and 11).