miscellaneous slide












by Upward Bound students and Greg Crowther


Polymerase, why canít you be true?
Polymerase, why canít you be true?
You keep making mistakes in the synthesis you do.

I saw a DNA strand growing in size;
Polly was there, adding nucleotides.
Fifty per second, thatís how she rolls;
This little girl is outta control!
Zipping down the template, such a fast pace,
Sooner or later she grabs the wrong base.


The strand is finished, but somethingís wrong;
Itís got an A where a C belongs.
A stop codon thatís premature --
Translation will stop short for sure.
The end result is lean and mean:
A mutated, truncated, bad protein!



In Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," the title character drives off in a fast car after being unfaithful. In this parody (written with Upward Bound high school students in the summer of 2013), the polymerase (a.k.a. Polly) synthesizes DNA at a recklessly fast rate, causing her replication fidelity to be compromised.

Questions: (1) In this song, is "Polly" a DNA polymerase or an RNA polymerase? (2) Based on the information in the song, can you determine which stop codon was introduced by the mutation? Answers: (1) The lines "I saw a DNA strand growing in size/Polly was there, adding nucleotides" suggests that Polly is synthesizing DNA and therefore is a DNA polymerase. (2) No. There are three stop codons; in terms of RNA sequence, they are UAA, UAG, and UGA. The UAA codon corresponds to ATT on the template DNA strand; UAG corresponds to ATC, and UGA corresponds to ACT. Since all of the DNA triplets have an A in them, which was the incorrect base ("it's got an A where a C belongs"), the stop codon could be any of the three.

Other Files

MP3 (by DNA's Child)