What does DNA sound like? Using music to unlock the secrets of genetic code

 

I’ve been studying molecular biology for many years. I also have a keen interest in music, having played with Sydney pop band the Hummingbirds. Usually, there is little overlap between these two pursuits, but I recently became aware of people using DNA sequences to create music.

This is called sonification. The people doing this usually treat DNA sequences as random patterns to create nice-sounding music. But what if we used musical notes to find out something useful about DNA sequences, like where mutations occur?

So I put on my coding hat and devised a tool that converts a DNA sequence into an audio stream. The results were recently published in the journal BMC Bioinformatics.

 

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Playing with the fire of inflammation

Inflammation is like a fire in your body you cannot see or feel. “It’s a smoldering process that injures your tissues, joints, and blood vessels, and you often do not notice it until significant damage is done,” says Dr. Andrew Luster, of the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. The damage might show up as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

 

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