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Monday, June 30, 2008 - 04:00 PM

'Have you quantified that?' Answering 'no' to this question will usually trigger a collective humph from the crowd at a scientific meeting. We don't want to know that there's more or less of some biological activity unless you can say exactly how much different it is from normal.

Now Ron Milo, Paul Jorgensen and Mike Springer at the Systems Biology department in Harvard have attempted to sate this appetite for numbers with a new site called BioNumbers, which contains referenced entries for numbers like the total nasal epithelial cell surface area in a mouse nose (about 300 square millimeters in case you didn't know).

And the Top Ten Bionumbers are?! drumroll...

1. Rate of ribosome translation in E. coli = 12-21 amino acids per second
2. Doubling time of cell lines in humans (check database)
3. Number of ribosomes/cell in E. coli = 6,800-72,000
4. Absolute abundance of tumor protein p53 in humans = 160,000
5. Number of mRNA/cell in E. coli = 1,380
6. Average number of neurons in the mouse brain = 75,000,000
7. Average number of neurons in the human brain = 100,000,000,000
8. Number of synapses for a 'typical' human neuron = 1,000-10,000
9. Concentration of ATP in rat neuron = 2.59 mM
10. Ribosome + RNAn --> Ribosome┬ĚRNAn+1 in E. coli = 100 base pairs/sec

I know what you're thinking.. How many BioNumbers are currently known?

..1718 and climbing.


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Comments [1]


1,2... skip a few, 99, 100!
I first heard this little school yard rhyme last year from a 6-year-old I know. I swear it wasn't around in the 70's when I came up, at least not in NYC. Was it?

Jun. 30 2008 11:22 PM

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