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Monday, January 30, 2012

Bio-Art: DNA Music.

Normally, this column would cover visual art. After all, that's what blogs that are not about celebrities are good for: sharing photos around the world. This time, however, the target of the column is...music.



That sound byte is not just any music. It was made using DNA - the stuff that makes you you. Besides the YouTube video above, there are several sites and institutions playing with turning your unique genetics into musical pieces. You have over 25,000 distinct genes. Pick your fave and put it on your iPod. 

So, how do they do it? Let's talk a little bit about DNA first: Deoxyribonucleic acid is twisted into nice, neat little double helices in every single cell of your body. Within these twists are the nitrogen bases adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. (In RNA, thymine is replaced with uracil.)  When these bases are strung together in a certain pattern, they code for amino acids. A bunch of amino acids creates a protein. A protein, or rather several proteins, make you who you are. Got it? Good; it'll be on the quiz. 

The basic idea behind all forms of DNA music is the same: Take the proteins and use them to create music. This gives you four notes to work with in the nitrogen bases. While this may not seem like a lot, it has a lot more creative potential than one would originally give it credit for. The YouTube video above speaks volumes in that regard.

Now, I've played with the software used to make DNA music. One gene can actually be quite complex; for example, the code for snake venom, for example, can go on for at least ten seconds in musical form. The four nitrogen bases can also be modified to be played by any number of instruments, allowing for a good variety of possible sounds. There are also ways to mix it like one would any other sound file. In the end, you can create music that is very much you...as long as you know the magical sequences of four letters that make it so.

1 comment:

  1. This is the fantastic use of protein. Making sound of DNA is the incredible job according to me.Looking forward to read miracle blogs like this from you. Thanks.

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