Determining of the order of amino acids in a protein or of nucleotides in a nucleic acid or gene. The results have increased understanding of the mechanisms of life processes and have numerous applications. Whereas Frederick Sanger required 10 years to determine the structure and sequence of amino acids in insulin and about as long to determine the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA of a small virus, automated laboratory instruments and techniques can now do either task in days or hours. See also genetic code; polymerase chain reaction.
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