Class Name: NucleotideShift
Method Name: findMinimumShifts
A scientist has a strand of DNA and wants to obtain a certain sequence of acids
by shifting as few nucleotides on the strand of DNA as possible. The scientist
has discovered a method to shift individual nucleotides on a strand of DNA.
The nucleotides thymine (T), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and adenine (A) can be
shifted as follows: T can shift to C, C to G, G to A, and A to T. (Example: To
shift from T to A takes 3 shifts.) The scientist can also discard nucleotides
off either or both of the ends of the original string to shorten the length of
the DNA strand. Discarding nucleotides is "free" and does not count as a
The scientist wants to take the original DNA and change it to the target
sequence of acids. Nucleotides map to acids in a 3 to 1 ratio (3 nucleotides =
1 acid). Each set of 3 nucleotides (from left to right in a DNA strand)
corresponds to an acid. The mapping is done by considering each set of three
nucleotides as a three digit base-4 number with values T = 0, C = 1, A = 2, G =
3 and referencing the universal genetic code string. The acid (letter) at the
index specified by the base-4 number is the acid the three nucleotides
Here is the universal genetic code:
ugc = FFLLSSSSYY..CC.WLLLLPPPPHHQQRRRRIIIMTTTTNNKKSSRRVVVVAAAADDEEGGGG
Example: TCT = 010(base 4) = 4 = ugc.charAt(4) = 'S'
Here is the method signature:
int findMinimumShifts(String original, String target)
original is a string containing only the characters 'T', 'C', 'G', 'A' and
contains between 1 and 50 letters, inclusive.
target is a string containing only the characters 'F', 'L', 'S', 'Y', '.', 'C',
'W', 'P', 'H', 'Q', 'R', 'I', 'M', 'T', 'N', 'K', 'V', 'A', 'D', 'E', and 'G'.
It is 20 or fewer letters long.
The applet will verify that the strings conform to these standards.
Minimum number of shifts to change the original strand of DNA to a strand of
DNA that corresponds to the acids in the target. If the target is not
reachable, return -1.
original = "TTT", target = "F" will return 0 because the original string
already matches the desired acid sequence.
original = "TTTTTTTTT", target = "FS" will return 1 because we can, with one
shift, get "TTTTCT" which is one of the possible strings which corresponds with
original = "GA", target = "." will return -1 because the target is not reachable.
original = "TTTTAT", target = "L" will return 0 because we can get "TTA" by
dropping two characters from the front and one character from the rear of the
original = "TAGCATGAGCATTTTCCCGGGAAA", target = "WESTERN" will return 19.