How many mutations do your cells have?

  • A human cell has about 6 billion base pairs of DNA, for a total of 12 billion nucleotides.

  • DNA replication is 99.99999999% accurate, after proofreading, and yields 1 mutation per 10 billion nucleotides.

  • Therefore, each cellular division yields slightly more than 1 mutation per cell.

  • Your average cell has divided about 48 times from a single zygote.

  • After 48 divisions, your average somatic cell has accumulated more than 50 mutations.

  • Since you have 200 trillion (2 x 1014) somatic cells, you have a total of 10,000 trillion, or 10 quadrillion (1 x 1016) mutations in your cells, not counting gametes.