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 musical composition".

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
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
Elizabeth Murray. 2005. "Do the Dance." Oil on canvas on wood

References:

  1. Ohno S. 1987. Repetition as the essence of life on this earth: music and genes. Haematol. Blood Transfus. 31:511-518.
  2. Ohno S. 1989. Modern coding sequences are in the periodic-to-chaotic transition. Haematol. Blood Transfus. 32:512-519.
  3. Ohno S. 1988. On periodicities governing the construction of genes and proteins. Anim. Genet. 19:305-316.
  4. Ohno S. 1993. A song in praise of peptide palindromes. Leukemia 2:S157-159.
  5. Ohno S, Jabara M. 1986. Repeats of base oligomers (N = 3n 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.
  6. 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. Immunogenetics 24:71-78.
From Left to Right: Susumo Ohno, Marty Jabara, Yonatan Cohen, Alexander Scriabin
From Left to Right: Susumo Ohno, Marty Jabara, Yonatan Cohen, Alexander Scriabin