Music and DNA
Starting in the 1980s, Susumu Ohno (1928-2000) suggested
that repetition is a process that governs both DNA sequences and Western
music: "The all pervasive principle of repetitious recurrence governs
not only coding sequence construction but also human endeavor in
The following file contains a performance by Mr. Yonatan
Cohen of a musical translation of the DNA sequence of mouse immunoglobulin
gamma variable region of the heavy chain with an
anti-4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl specificity. The music was published by
Susumu Ohno & Marty Jabara in 1986. Click on the following picture and enjoy!
Matthew Barney. 2000. "The Cabinet of Baby Fay La Foe."
Polycarbonate honeycomb, cast stainless steel, nylon, solar salt cast in epoxy
resin, top hat, beeswax in nylon, plexiglass vitrine
For comparison, the next file contains a performance by
Mr. Yonatan Cohen of Alexander Scriabin's Etude op. 8 no. 1 in C sharp Major.
Click on the picture below.
Elizabeth Murray. 2005. "Do the Dance." Oil on canvas on wood
Ohno S. 1987. Repetition as the essence of life on this earth: music and genes.
Haematol. Blood Transfus. 31:511-518.
Ohno S. 1989. Modern coding sequences are in the periodic-to-chaotic transition.
Haematol. Blood Transfus. 32:512-519.
Ohno S. 1988. On periodicities governing the construction of genes and proteins.
Anim. Genet. 19:305-316.
Ohno S. 1993. A song in praise of peptide palindromes. Leukemia 2:S157-159.
Ohno S, Jabara M. 1986. Repeats of base oligomers (N = 3n ¡À 1 or 2) as immortal coding
sequences of the primeval world: Construction of coding sequences is based upon the
principle of musical composition. Chemica Scripta 26B:43-49.
Ohno S, Ohno M. 1986. The all pervasive principle of repetitious recurrence governs
not only coding sequence construction but also human endeavor in musical composition.
From Left to Right: Susumo Ohno, Marty Jabara, Yonatan Cohen,