Posts Tagged ‘dna’
 
Posted in Art+Science, DNA Art, Science by Brittany on April 25th, 2014
 

To celebrate, we wanted to share some things you might not know about DNA!

And take 20% off artwork made from your DNA  – use the promo code DNADAY
(not combinable with other discounts or promotions, valid through April 27, 2014)

National DNA Day

 
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Posted in Art+Science, International, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on January 24th, 2013
 

We’ve recently been hearing some very big, and very interesting news out of the DNA world! Researchers have claimed to have found a more efficient alternative to storing information on a computer hard drive — rather they are suggesting they have the capabilities to replace the hard drive with DNA. Via Engadget:

We’ve seen scientists experiment with DNA as a storage medium — most recently with a Harvard team fitting 704TB of data onto a single gram of the genetic material — and it looks like that research trend is only picking up. Scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute in the UK have encoded an MP3 file — along with a digital photo and all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets — into DNA, with a hulking storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram. The information was written using the language of DNA’s four bases (A, T, C and G, if you remember high-school bio), and to provide error correction the scientists reserved one of the letters to break up long runs of any of the other three bases. In practice, this system allowed for 100-percent accuracy in sequencing and retrieving the encoded files. Though DNA storage is still quite expensive, the researchers say this method could eventually provide a viable option for archiving information, especially considering DNA’s high capacity and long life span. Still, you won’t be ditching that hard drive just yet.

Share our love of DNA? Browse through our unique portrait ideas.

Photo credit: The Telegraph

 

 
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Posted in International, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on December 7th, 2012
 

Exciting news for those conspiracy theorists out there! A Texan researcher and her team of scientists claim to have confirmed the existence of what we refer to as Bigfoot — A.K.A. The Great Bear, Yeti, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman, or Harry. Here is some more information on the study, and its findings via Red Orbit:

Researcher Melba Ketchum led a team of scientists in a five-year DNA study purporting to confirm the existence of the hominin hybrid species commonly referred to as Bigfoot. The findings of this study are not yet published and are currently undergoing peer review.

The study findings suggest that the mythical creature known as Bigfoot is a human relative that emerged approximately 1,500 years ago as a hybrid cross between modern Homo sapiens and another as yet unknown primate species. The team was a multi-disciplinary group of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology. Dr. Ketchum confirms that the team has sequenced three complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes and has determined that the species is definitively a human hybrid.

“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens,” said Ketchum.

With any news or emerging research such as this, there is alot of scepticism surrounding the study. Via Neurologica:

Let me offer a preliminary alternate hypothesis. The hair samples that contain only human mtDNA are from a human. The samples from which the nuDNA is isolated are also from humans but with some contaminants or some other animal source mixed in. That seems to be a more parsimonious interpretation. I would like to know more about the source of the DNA, but I guess that will have to wait for the full details to be published. The fact that the human DNA is modern human (hence the need for the alleged hybridization to have occurred so recently in the past) is most easily explained as the source simply being modern humans.

While Ketchum does have the experience and expertise to lend to her credibility — she has over 27 years of research experience in genetics and forensics — many sources are saying she will likely have issues getting her study published. Many are thinking the study should have gone under peer review, before being released to the media. What are your opinions on her study? We’d love to hear from you!

Love genetics? Browse through our unique portrait ideas.

Photo credit: Huffington Post

 
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Posted in Just Cool, Science, Video by Courtney on November 30th, 2012
 

At DNA 11, we know all too well just how unique we all are. Your Fingerprint, DNA, and Kiss portraits are all individual representations of who you are – but how much do you really know about what makes you, well, you? DNA determines everything about us. From what hair colour you have, to how long you will live, to whether or not you’ll have dimples! Check out this great video showcasing “18 Things You Should Know About Genetics” by David Murawsky. Let us know what you think in the comments!

 
 
Posted in Science by Courtney on October 5th, 2012
 

Man holiding up a bushel of cilantro

Ever wonder what causes an herb to be such a controversial subject? Cilantro is normally loved or hated, there’s rarely an in between. It is so disliked it has sprouted a website called I Hate Cilantro where people can facilitate discussions about the garnish, and even share a haiku on the subject.

Believe it or not, recent studies have shown a correlation between distaste for cilantro and a specific gene. Via NPR:

Geneticists at 23andMe in California asked about 25,000 people whether they like cilantro or think it smells soapy. When they searched the people’s DNA for regions that correlate with a distaste for the herb, a single spot jumped out. And, it sits right next to a cluster of odor-detecting genes, including one that is known to specifically recognize the soapy aromas in cilantro’s bouquet.

The authors propose that this odor gene contributes to a person’s dislike for cilantro because it increases the herb’s soapy smell.

The scientists pinpointed three more genes that influence our perception of cilantro: Two of the genes are involved with tasting bitter foods and one gene detects pungent compounds, like those in wasabi.

Overall, Nicholas Eriksson (lead author on the study) says these studies demonstrate that DNA does shape our opinion of cilantro, but probably not enough that we can’t overcome it. “It isn’t like your height, that you’re stuck with. People can change it,” he says.

Who knew that such distaste for the leafy green substance could be engrained in your genetic makeup!

Ever wonder what your genes would look like as art? Check out our DNA portraits.

 
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Posted in DNA Ancestry, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on September 14th, 2012
 

We dug up this excellent infographic via Online Education and had to share. Does anything surprise you?

 
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Posted in Art+Science, biotechnology, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on August 21st, 2012
 

We’re always on the lookout for cool DNA developments! Did you catch this story via Science Now?

When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.

A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die—not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.

To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all. Instead, an inkjet printer embeds short fragments of chemically synthesized DNA onto the surface of a tiny glass chip. To encode a digital file, researchers divide it into tiny blocks of data and convert these data not into the 1s and 0s of typical digital storage media, but rather into DNA’s four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. Each DNA fragment also contains a digital “barcode” that records its location in the original file. Reading the data requires a DNA sequencer and a computer to reassemble all of the fragments in order and convert them back into digital format. The computer also corrects for errors; each block of data is replicated thousands of times so that any chance glitch can be identified and fixed by comparing it to the other copies.

Read more…

Do you dig DNA as much as we do? Check out our DNA portraits, where art meets science.

Image: Scientists have found a way to store an entire textbook in the code of DNA. (John Goode/Flickr)

 
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Posted in Art+Science, Cool Art Ideas, Just Cool by Courtney on June 19th, 2012
 

Portraits come in all shapes and sizes, and New York artist Michael Mapes is a genius at capturing the essence of his subjects is a truly unique way. We love it when art meets science!
Via Colossal:

He creates elaborate specimen boxes by dissecting photographs and then compartmentalizing individual fragments within plastic bags, glass vials, magnifiers, in gelatin capsules and on insect pins. The boxes exist in an uncanny area between photography and sculpture, functioning both as portraits and as fascinating scientific canvases that make you question the the logic behind the organization of each piece.

Michael’s boxes feature thousands of individual specimens of dissected photographs and biographical DNA like hair, finger nails, scent, eye lashes, fingerprints, food, botanical elements, fabric swatches, makeup, dirt, handwriting samples and breath.

Learn more about Michael and his work in his interview with the Huffington Post.

Create your own unique portrait with DNA 11—turn your DNA, Fingerprint or Kiss into a work of art for your home.

 
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Posted in Art+Science by Courtney on May 3rd, 2012
 

When science and art collide, the results are awe-inspiring. The video above by Martijn Steenwijk is the Grand Prize Winner in the  Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience’s 2012 Art of Neuroscience competition. These amazing entries merged neuroscience with artistic inflections. Via Discover Magazine:

The video used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize brain function and anatomy. Also keep an ear on the soundtrack, which was composed by assigning each brain activity pattern to an instrument. The instrument’s pitch varies with intensity of brain activity—raw thought translated into music.

“Organized Chaos” by S. Hoyng (left) received Honourable Mention at the awards. This brain slice from a human autopsy has taken on vivid color in the hands of a neuroscientist: green from infection by a lentivirus, red for neurons, blue for the nuclei of brain cells.

We’re always stoked to find other Art+Science initiatives and collaborations, like these science tattoos or the DNA of film.

Have you discovered a cool Art+Science project? Share it with us!

 
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Posted in Art+Science, biotechnology, Educational, Inspiration by Courtney on October 28th, 2011
 

Right now, some of the most amazing innovators and thinkers are gathered in San Diego for a medical conference like no other. TEDMED brings together an extraordinary and diverse group of leaders in one place where theoretical ideas are thrown it into the reality of tomorrow’s technologies. This year it’s being held at the Hotel Del Coronado, on Coronado Island from October 25th – 28th.

It was a natural fit for DNA 11 to be there, especially with their speaker line up boasting huge names like Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) and Lance Armstrong. Then, leaders in the genetic sciences field such as Ashley Dombkowski (Chief Business Officer, 23andme) and Eric Schadt (Director, Institute of Genomics, Mount Sinai Medical School).

DNA 11 is so thrilled to be doing an 18′ x 24′ DNA portrait for every speaker. Also, a $100 DNA 11 gift card will be given to each of the 1000 conference attendees.

Follow along with conference updates on twitter @tedmed or hash tag #tedmed. We will be!

 
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