When thirteen year old Adam Dove slams a baseball out of the park, he sets into motion events beyond imagining. While retrieving his ball, he finds a gold medallion in a chunk of coal. Twenty years later, as a university chemistry professor, he discovers that the medallion contains billions of carbon-13 particles in a distinct pattern.
Ben Wujciak, the family doctor, who was aware of the finding, apparently commits suicide. Adam discovers the body, but before he has a chance to call the police, it disappears.
A colleague, Linda Garcia, joins Adam in a quest to find the source of the medallion. They link up with a museum curator, Hedda Morrison, but are chased through a coal mine and colliery by strangers intent on obtaining the medallion. Adam is reunited with Ben, who it seems is still alive. Herman Borman, the current owner of the mine, desperately desires the artifact as a talisman for his Nazi followers, but Adam and his group escape, leaving Herman infuriated.
At Brookhaven National Labs, Adam and Linda discover that the carbon-13 pattern matches the human DNA sequence. Herman’s men invade the labs and seize them. They are rescued by Alpha, the leader of an interstellar expedition tracking similar medallions on other worlds. He claims that part of our DNA coding is designed to compel us to search for our creators. He also notes that among his passengers there may be some determined to subvert the expedition, and one may already be on Earth.
Adam and Linda accept an invitation to join the quest. After Adam subdues the alien fanatic who was disguised as Ben, they board the ship, and embark on a 10,000 year voyage.
On the planet of the Makers, Greeter Fay wonders if there is more to life than insuring Visitors are incorporated into the Source. Ironically, she is selected to undergo training as a Cleric, a rank with great prestige and responsibility, by the current Cleric, Deirdre.
Adam discovers the ship was made by the Makers. When they arrive on the planet, he and Linda run off into nearby woods trying to avoid the Incorporation ritual. Fay joins them, hoping to leave the planet. They are trapped by Deirdre, who condemns them to resorption, however, Fay had anticipated the capture and arranged for an escape. Adam and Linda enter the subsurface world of the Makers using portals curiously accessible only through spoken English. They are confronted by Angel, a caretaker robot, who welcomes them home.
Some of the group fall deathly ill, infected by an ancient bacteria. Alpha joins the group with several freed passengers in tow. They discover the planet is a ship which left Earth centuries after Adam and Linda joined Alpha’s expedition. An accidental encounter with a wormhole had caused the planet-ship to arrive seventeen million years earlier. In that time, the Source, an artificial intelligence, dispersed probes throughout the galaxy to search for and to establish human life on suitable planets. One such planet was Earth.
Once they reach the surface, the Source prevents them from leaving, but when Adam and Linda convince it that the Makers were their descendents, the Source capitulates. Back on the ship, the crazed android is destroyed, and medicines stored aboard cure their sickness.
The group opt to return to the planet-ship, making it their new home. With the help of the Source, many of the Incorporated are released to settle in the subsurface Maker town. They raise families and work toward the repair of the ship, hoping to one day return to their home planets.
Thirteen years later in Maker town, Adam and Linda host a backyard birthday party for Fay. In a quiet moment on their front porch, they gently kiss, hold hands and join the gathering, having accepted the planet-ship as home—a place surrounded by friends and family, and a new-found hope for the future of humanity.
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi (750-850 CE) was a Persian scholar in the House of Wisdom, Baghdad. He was an extraordinary scientist, astronomer and mathematician, who introduced the concept of decimals and is considered the Father of Algebra. The European Latin translation of his name evolved into the term, “algorithm,” which in modern day parlance is equivalent to a computer program—a set of instructions carried out by a machine for a definite purpose.
Independence Park, Newark, NJ August, 1979
“I’m ready when you are.”
Adam’s grip tightened about the partially unraveled friction tape wound about the handle of his Louisville slugger. Tossing back a shock of dirty blond hair, he sucked in his breath and eased his thirteen-year old body back in eager expectation.
“Here it comes ya lil’ squirt,” bellowed the pitcher as he wound up.
The ball flew down the middle, and when Adam struck it, the crack echoed off the dense wall of chestnut trees surrounding the field. The ball scaled the foliage, and for a moment looked like it would continue on into legend. However, the laws of physics, in particular those describing the unyielding effects of gravity, took over.
Elation shifted to terror as cars trundled through the landing zone. To Adam’s relief, a distant ‘thunk’ announced the ball’s contact with the street, however the respite was short-lived, for the next sound was that of glass breaking. All on the field scattered in every direction but toward the ball’s unfortunate crash site.
The pitcher ran to Adam, yanked the bat out of his hands, and slowed long enough to ask, “Wattaya standin’ there for?” before taking off toward the nearest park entrance.
Adam jogged to a side entrance where he slowed to a walk.
I just bought that ball.
He kept to the sidewalk skirting the ballpark, all the while casting surreptitious glances at each three-story apartment building across the street. When he reached the house next to his own, he crossed over. To the left of the wooden stairs leading to the first floor entrance something grabbed his attention. It was the basement window, or where the window should have been. A few daggers of glass remained in the opening, framing the darkness within like the gaping mouth of a sharp-toothed ogre. Adam moved past the gruesome specter, trying to remain casual. Maybe the break went unnoticed.
Like his own house, access to the basement took the form of an inside entry next to the backdoor. He reached it in seconds, pulled at the handle. It creaked open to reveal a wooden staircase. He inched his way down, careful to step to the side of each tread to avoid the squeal of loose boards.
When he reached the bottom, he peered down the length of the basement toward the front of the house. The darkness felt grim and the cold air licked at the back of his neck. The light from the stairs faded as Adam crept forward, groping for a switch or a dangling chain. Bumping into musty carton boxes and storage crates, he crept farther into the gloom. He paused when he heard footsteps above, muffled conversation, or the sound of water gurgling through pipes. When his outstretched hands touched a metal post, he craned his head to the side and focused on the dim outline of the broken window. Hazy light streamed in from above and outlined a darkly smeared coal bin. As he neared the coal bin and he needed to look no further. The ball sat atop a mound of dusty anthracite.
He scaled the blackened wooden planks and landed softly at the base of the coal pile. He clambered up, slipping and kicking up sulfurous dust, blackening hands and knees as he scrambled to the top. He lunged for the ball, grasped it with one hand, and glided down the rocky heap in deep satisfaction. Dust settled around and on him, fading in and out of the light. Adam found his other hand clutching a few nuggets. He was about to toss them back into the heap when a sparkle of reflected light caught his eye. He opened his fingers, releasing one lump at a time, until all that remained was a fist-sized chunk. Even in the muted light he saw the oddly-shaped golden glimmer. He rotated his upturned palm, bringing it closer. There was something metallic in the coal.
The sound of footfalls on the staircase broke his reverie. There he was, reclining in a dusty coal bin at the far end of an unlit, unfamiliar and cavernous cellar—ball in one hand and a mystery lump of coal in the other. The shadowy figure reaching the foot of the stairs was about to discover an intruder. Tucking away the coal in his dungarees pocket, he rolled off the brimstone mound, careful to avoid dislodging a ‘here-I-am’ mini-avalanche. He slipped over the side of the bin and felt for some potential cover. The lights came on just as he squeezed between a stack of cartons and the cellar damp wall. Shuffling feet with loose slippers slapped their way toward him. Adam fought down a strong urge to jump up and run.
I bet my ass is hanging out for all to see.
The shuffling and slapping drew to a stop.
That’s it, he’s got me.
Adam recognized the voice of his neighbor, Mr. Kurtinaitis—a gravelly, ancient and grinding timbre, which even with such a short phrase, retained its distinct Lithuanian origins. Every neighborhood had its curmudgeon, some old geezer that never got along with anyone younger than thirty, the community warlock whispered about by the children unfortunate enough to have encountered him. Mr. Kurtinaitis had the required indeterminate advanced age, the bent-over posture, gnarly limbs, the grizzled, unkempt look, an obscure foreign accent and gruff demeanor required for a fully-fledged wizard of the dark world. Adam imagined him staring at the broken window of his beloved, dreary cellar domain. A deeply furrowed brow framed the evil eye searching him out, maybe already locked in on his exposed posterior. He was about to stand and beg for mercy, when after a few more shuffling sounds, Mr. Kurtinaitis muttered, “Damned kids.”
He’s seen me for sure. He’s probably sneaking up on me now.
Instead of getting hoisted by the scruff of his neck, Adam heard a deep and profound sigh of disgust, a kind of snort a dragon might issue, and the shuffling headed away to the back stairs.
The Dark Lord proceeded to shut off the lights and uttered several nasty sounding phrases in the Lord’s native tongue. Adam heard him ascend the stairs, grumbling at each step, and slam a door. A full five minutes of complete silence went by before he drew up enough courage to step out from behind the boxes. He tip-toed through the same door, all the while certain that Mr. Kurtinaitis was actually hiding just out of sight at the entrance.
He slinked outside, holding his breath lest it give away his position. After reaching the security of his own backyard next door, he parked himself on the wooden stairs and waited for his adrenaline levels to subside along with the thumping in his chest. When he resumed normal breathing, he placed the ball in the recess of his backdoor entry, and with a satisfied exhale, reached into his pocket.
As he held the lump of coal to the waning afternoon sunlight, he beheld an odd metallic gleam, appearing as a golden slash in the side of the black rock.
Maybe it’s gold!
Eager to crack it open, he struck the coal against the slate walk at the base of the stairs a few times, which only resulted in leaving black scars along the slate’s surface. He was about to try and crush the lump beneath his feet when he heard his parents parking their car in front of the house. He put the coal back into his pocket and entered through the backdoor to greet his mom who was carrying groceries.
“Hey, mom. Need some help?”
“Dad’ll need a hand. There’s more in the car. How on Earth did you get so filthy?”
“Aw, nothin’… I just fell.”
Her head bent downward, giving her the glaring look with which he was all too familiar.
“Help your dad with the bags from the car, get those clothes off, and take a bath. You do remember we have an appointment to see Dr. Wujciak this afternoon? Hurry up, you have fifteen minutes.”
He had forgotten about the physical.
Summer was nearly over and St. Harold’s Preparatory School required a physical for all new students. Adam was thrilled about the prospect of starting a new phase of his life. As he thought about the doctor’s office and his mystery rock, an idea emerged which got him even more excited.
* * *
Adam sat in Dr. Wujciak’s crowded waiting room with his mother at his side. After he read and re-read the same worn out, three month old issue of Life magazine, Adam’s name was called. He leaped up to follow the nurse, giving his mom a quick wave. He was finally old enough to be on his own.
After the usual weight, height and blood pressure routine, the nurse left him in a small inner office to await the good doctor’s arrival. Adam wandered over to the corner of the office and stared at a dusty old instrument that he knew from previous discussions with Dr. Wujciak was a fluoroscope.
An x-ray machine.
It looked like a washboard with some dials and switches at its base. He was staring at it when the doctor came in.
Dr. Wujciak went through his standard prodding and jabbing routine, interrupting with an occasional request to say, “aah” or to breathe deeply as he moved an icy cold stethoscope along his bare back. In the end, Adam received the usual congratulations for being so healthy and growing so quickly. Dr. Wujciak was about to escort him out to the reception area, when Adam stopped, pointed and asked, “Is that thing back there still working?”
“You mean Old Flora? We don’t use it anymore, Adam, because it generates too high a level of x-ray radiation to be safe.”
“Oh, it’s not for me. I was wondering if it, Old Flora, still works, ’cause I have something that I was hoping you could check out.”
Adam took out a little ball of tissue paper, unrolled it, and handed him the chunk of coal. Dr. Wujciak flipped it over several times and stopped when his eyes caught the metallic gleam, a sparkling golden band.
“Aha … So you want to see what’s in this coal? Why don’t you just break it open?”
“I plan to do that, but maybe it’s something that might break. It’s gotta be really old, being in coal. Do you think that Old Flora can see inside it?” he asked with a broad grin.
Dr. Wujciak looked as intrigued as Adam. “I haven’t fired up Old Flora for years, but there should be no problem spending an extra minute or two in trying her out. Besides, it is a very curious piece of coal.”
He rolled the stately antique out of the corner, plugged in the frayed wiring and dimmed the lights in the office. “I’ve been thinking about donating it to a museum.”
He riffled through one of his desk drawers, and handed a pair of red-lensed spectacles to Adam, while donning a pair himself.
“We’ll need the glasses to see the image.”
A faint buzzing sound preceded an eerie glow from the washboard. Dr. Wujciak made a few more adjustments to the machine and asked, “So where did you find it?”
“In the park.”
Dr. Wujciak pulled his red spectacles down to the tip of his nose, propped up the lump of coal on a stand behind the washboard and said, “Come over to this side, Adam, so that we both might see what’s inside.”
“By the way, why do you call this thing Old Flora?”
“Just a nickname. I’ve had this baby around for most of my professional career. They used to be very popular back in the forties and fifties.” His head lolled to one side as he added, “She’s kind of like an old friend.”
Adam wriggled closer and Dr. Wujciak covered them both with a heavy lead-lined blanket and turned off the room lights. The spectacles gave the washboard glow an eerie look, as if they had just opened a crimson window to another world. The two were drawn in as they became mesmerized by the bright, translucent outline of the stone. The doctor twiddled with several dials and a second image appeared within the glimmering shell, denser and even darker than the rock. The encased object appeared rounded and smooth. Dr. Wujciak reached behind the board, rotated the coal and the two investigators both uttered a whispered ‘wow!’ almost in unison as they made out what looked like a coin or medallion having a hole in its center. Their noses were nearly touching the screen when a blinding flash of light filled the office, followed by the unmistakable stench of burned rubber. Dr. Wujciak reached up and switched on the lights. “I’m afraid that may be it for Old Flora. I think her power supply just blew.”
Just when things were getting really interesting.
“That’s quite an interesting find, Adam.”
Dr. Wujciak returned the enigmatic object to Adam. “What are you planning to do with it?”
“I don’t know.”
I’m going to crack that sucker open. That’s what I’m planning to do with it.
“The object inside might be valuable. It could have historic importance. Perhaps you may consider having a scientist look at it. I know someone in the geology department at Rutgers that I could contact if you like.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I think I want to wait on that. So … could we keep it a secret, sort of between you and me?”
“That’s okay, Adam, just let me know when you’re ready and I’ll arrange for you to visit the university.”
Dr. Wujciak patted Adam’s back. “Now, put your shirt back on. You’re in tip-top shape. Good luck this coming year at St. Harold’s. And, just remember to let me know if you need any help with your discovery.”
Ben Wujciak and Adam shared a love of science fiction and both were avowed Trekkies. As the doctor was leaving the examination room, Adam threw him the splayed finger Vulcan hand greeting. The tricky salutation was returned with a wink.
* * *
The next morning Adam woke alone. Both parents were at work and the opportunity for discovery had finally arrived. Still in his pajamas, he grabbed the lump of coal and flew downstairs to his father’s cellar workshop. Adam grabbed a screwdriver from a pegboard, holding both it and the coal in one hand, and wedged it against the bench top. The other hand reached for a hammer.
He tapped the coal. He cleaved off chip after chip until at last, the coal split and a golden medallion rolled out onto the bench. Adam closed his fingers around the half-dollar-sized mystery. It had a peculiar golden sheen, changing in intensity with every movement, however slight. There were several odd symbol-like indentations running along the edge, and it had a perfectly round quarter-inch hole in its center. There would be no way he could keep the object if he made it public.
This treasure is mine and I’m going to keep it.
He never did keep his promise to get back to Dr. Wujciak, nor did he ever tell anyone else about it for the next twenty years.
* * *
Traveling at nearly the speed of light, a slate gray cylinder traced a path along the inside of the Milky Way’s Orion Arm a dozen light-years from Earth’s solar system. Its exterior, covered by numerous gashes and impact craters, spoke of a journey of an extensive length of time. The rounded ends provided no distinction between forward or aft sections. Buried within its body a complex array of machines sat in silence with the exception of one. A muffled hum from its bowels was followed by the appearance of an amber light embedded in an instrument panel. Several exterior conical shapes emerged from the body of the cylinder. They glowed briefly and altered the cylinder’s trajectory, after which they returned to their original, cloaked poses within the otherwise unremarkable exterior. The amber light faded into darkness.
Dr. Adam Dove finished his curved chalk line with an arrowhead which indicated the path a pair of electrons would take to complete a complex chemical reaction mechanism. And yet, he was still in his father’s workshop twenty years ago, gripping his golden enigma. A cough from the audience shattered the flashback, and the gold in his upheld hand morphed into chalk. He turned to look at the classroom. The only sounds throughout the large auditorium were those of pens, pencils, and laptop keyboards belonging to students engaged in keeping up with second-year Organic Chemistry. A distant period bell signaled the end of class and completed Adam’s return to the present day—a fall semester Monday in the year 1999 in the sprawling eastern Pennsylvania campus of the Schill University School of Medicine, just outside Scranton, where Adam taught and conducted research in Bio-organic Chemistry. His other hand had been unconsciously fiddling with the medallion hanging beneath his shirt, a habit born of many years and of which Adam had become barely aware.
A short walk along the adjacent hallway brought him to a second floor research lab and his inner sanctuary—a glass wall-enclosed, smallish office populated with piles of books, unfinished manuscripts, and uncorrected test papers stacked precariously in a random pattern of towers, each threatening to topple onto his scrimshawed oak desk. He eased into a cracked leather-lined swivel chair, balancing himself on the three working casters, and reached up to the top of the nearest and most threatening pile.
Soon I’ll be wandering around the hallways, lost in my thoughts, feeling my way along the walls while students point and snicker.
He was holding a sheaf of papers when a tap on his office door drew his gaze to a young woman’s smiling face framed by the rectangular door window. Her long black hair was neatly tucked into a ponytail. Her eyes were big and brown, highlighted by dimpled rosy cheeks. The collars of a white lab coat completed the portrait. Adam knew her as the molecular biology prodigy from MIT, recently hired by the biochemistry department to coordinate and analyze incoming data from the Human Genome Project. Her name was Linda Garcia, and she was outstanding, both in intellect and looks.
He nodded and she let herself in.
“Professor Dove? I was wondering if you would like to be a part of the Human Genome Project analysis team.”
Her speech held the barest traces of a Hispanic lilt, made all the more exotic by her tanned complexion and beguiling smile. It was typical of Linda to speak directly, often without the usual schmooze associated with departmental politics. Most folks knew about the Genome Project, and most knew that Dr. Garcia was the hotshot coordinating efforts at Schill. To be a part of the team analyzing the human genome was not only a great honor, but a great scientific opportunity.
“It’s Linda, right?”
“Dr. Linda Garcia. I just started here last month.”
“And you’re heading up the university’s contribution to the Human Genome Project, right?”
“Why, yes. The sequence data we are generating, coupled with incoming data from around the country is huge. It’s the reason for my visit. I thought that you might be interested in joining my team.”
Adam’s heart opted for an extra beat. The Human Genome Project began in 1990 as a massive effort coordinated by the US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health to identify all the genes in human DNA. Estimates suggested the project would take about fifteen years to complete. In actuality, nine years later the work was nearing a high point and was almost finished. Adam knew enough to realize that the scientists best suited to the task were molecular biologists, much like Linda. Although he was an organic chemist with some expertise in biochemistry and statistical analysis, Linda’s request to join her team seemed out of place.
“Linda, don’t you have enough scientists trained in DNA sequence analysis on your staff?”
Her eyes widened as she answered. “Well, yes … however, Dr. Dove, there are aspects of the data analysis that I think someone with your background could really contribute to.”
She entranced him. Adam was having difficulty paying attention to what Linda was actually saying. “Please call me Adam … what aspects?”
Her face grew solemn as she replied in a firmer voice. “Adam, why don’t you join us tomorrow morning at our review meeting? After seeing the details of the analysis thus far, you’ll be able to answer that question yourself.” She turned, perhaps too abruptly, leaving the office door to slowly swing back. Before it closed, she added, “Gotta run. I hope to see you in the morning.”
When she reached the outer laboratory door, he extended his arm to hold his office door ajar. “I’ll be there. Where and when?” He noticed that his hands were sweaty, and his heart seemed to beat a bit harder.
Linda called back without turning. “Room 331B, nine sharp.” And with a quick backward wave of her hand she was down the hall and out of sight.
* * *
Room 331B was Linda’s laboratory office located on the third floor almost directly above Adam’s. A note on the door led him to a meeting room farther along the hallway. He approached its outer door and peered through the glass. About a dozen seated researchers surrounded an elongated conference table. All were dressed in white lab coats, while several fiddled with an overhead projector. A reflection in the glass revealed someone coming up behind him—Linda.
“Good morning, Adam. Glad to see you made it.”
Adam feigned mild surprise and turned to see Linda’s infectious smile. While she opened the door, he replied, “Me too.” He followed her inside, and wedged himself into an empty chair in a far corner of the room.
Linda began. “As you know, we are in the midst of collating and analyzing the remaining DNA sequence data for human chromosomes four and five, which would complete our portion of the preliminary sequencing. The meeting this morning was called to brain-storm the current data, and to map out a plan of action.” Looking directly at Adam, Linda continued, “Dr. Adam Dove will be joining us in a consulting capacity.”
The announcement went largely without reaction, with several heads turning to look at Adam. He returned the curious glances with an innocent but studious façade as he pondered the confidence with which Linda assumed he would join the team. The meeting proceeded to detail various quirks and challenges surrounding chromatographic separation and identification procedures, sequencing options, purification issues, and other such technical bits typical of the project in general. As the presentations proceeded, Adam began reviewing what he actually knew about DNA.
The acronym was short for deoxyribonucleic acid—a polymer made up of four types of bases. The sequence of these four bases in a DNA strand represents all the instructions needed to build and maintain any biologic organism. A set of three bases, a triplet, generally encodes for a single amino acid, a building block for a protein that can be hundreds of amino acids long. The sequence of these triplets along the DNA constitutes the genetic code. Each chromosome held one DNA chain and that a chunk of DNA which codes for a specific protein is called a gene.
That’s definitely all I know.
He guessed that the total amount of DNA which describes an organism is called a genome.
“Adam, now that you have an appreciation of the challenges we face, I would like your opinion on something.”
Adam blinked, mentally filing away his DNA musings. The meeting room was empty.
It must have been a short meeting.
Linda was standing in front of him and with a smirk, turned and waved for Adam to follow. They entered her laboratory together, where she stopped just inside, letting the door close behind them.
“As you may know, the human genome project was designed to identify each and every gene, and in so doing, it would provide the world with a complete description, basically a roadmap of a human being. The idea was to determine the sequences of approximately three billion bases that make up our DNA, and then to figure out how many genes were present and what proteins they encoded for. Information obtained from this project would be invaluable to us, especially in tackling genetic disorders and developing new ways to design medicines tailored for the individual’s biochemistry.”
Linda furrowed her brow as she caught Adam closing his eyes. She cleared her throat and raised her hands to emphasize a point. “However, we have run into a few surprises. Originally we assumed that hundreds of thousands of genes made up the human genome. Earlier observations indicated that simpler organisms had a smaller number of genes. For example, bacteria and fungi range from about two to eight thousand genes. Fruit flies get up to about fourteen thousand, and mice are at twenty-five thousand. Although the human genome project is not quite complete yet, our data indicate the gene count for humans to be less than thirty thousand.”
“Not much more than in mice. Sounds a bit disappointing. What gives?”
“No one knows for sure, but it would appear that we may be using the same basic machinery present in lower species, but in a more complex way.”
“Is that the issue that you’d like me to look at?”
Linda shook her head. “Not exactly. There’s something else that has emerged which may be much more of a puzzle. It turns out that our genome is largely unused. That is, not only are we limited to thirty thousand genes, but recently we have discovered that a fairly large portion of our genome appears to be nonsense.”
Linda took a step closer to Adam. When he spoke, his voice cracked. “Exactly how much of the genome are we talking about?”
“Our analysis suggests that about two percent of all the sequences in our DNA codes for protein. This leaves the rest of our genome with no identifiable purpose. Some scientists have called these sequences ‘junk.’ I call them ‘non-coding.’ And, that’s where you come in.”
“And why would that be?”
“Experimentalists have been working on the possible function of non-coding DNA, and the most likely theories suggest that it may be responsible for the regulation of all the processes which go into creating and maintaining us, basically acting to make sure each step in the process of our growth and development takes place at the right time and in the right way. Personally, I think that’s a neat explanation, however, there’s no concrete proof … and, besides, the non-coding sequences are a bit strange.”
“Strange? In what way strange?”
“There are many instances where apparently random sequences repeat themselves in many locations. Actually, they seem to be both random and organized. One other thing … as I mentioned, lower, simpler organisms have fewer genes. However, they also have less non-coding DNA. The trend that we are seeing is that as an organism becomes more complex, that organism has an increased amount of non-coding DNA.”
“Whew. So, how do I fit into the picture?”
“You’ve done a great deal of work in the area of structure-activity correlations, mathematical procedures designed to detect relationships between molecular structure and biological activity.”
Adam nodded as Linda continued. “I have a feeling that there may be more to the non-coding DNA issue than just a random set of sequences coupled to vague theories of cellular regulation.”
“You want me to look for patterns within these sequences? Patterns that may correlate with some type of function?”
“You got it.”
“Just how much non-coding sequence data do you have?”
“We are just now completing the sequencing for two chromosomes. The non-coding sections consist of about two hundred fifty million bases. We can get the sequence data from other labs which cover the rest of the human genome. Altogether the mystery sequences contain close to three billion bases.”
* * *
The cylinder turned and its engines fired in a programmed series of short bursts to begin a controlled process of deceleration. The G-forces needed to be carefully regulated. Excessive forces would not damage the cocooned occupants, but could pose issues to the few awake and on duty.