Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Listen To Genes, Music Based On The Immunoglobulin Gene

 I can't resist sharing Susumo Ohno's music and a little of his story the scientist in me is excited and inspired by his findings.  I hope you find it interesting too.

Music Based on part of a Immunoglobulin Gene 

In 1986, Ohno authored a paper published in Immunogenetics that explored the relationship between DNA genetic sequences and music. "The SARC oncogene, a malignant gene first discovered in chickens, causes cancer in humans as well. When Ohno translated the gene to music, it sounded very much like Chopin`s Funeral March". "An enzyme (phosphoglyceratekinase), which breaks down sugar (glucose) in the body revealed itself to Ohno as a lullaby. ``A violinist recorded the tune, and when kindergarten teachers in Tokyo play it, their youngsters yawn and willingly take their naps,``" said Ohno. The biologist, with no formal training in music, "decided to assign notes according to the molecular weights" and "put the heavier molecules in lower positions, and the lighter molecules higher". With DNA being composed of four subunits, he mapped each to two positions on the musics staff, forming an octave. He found that the more evolved an organism is, the more complicated is the music. His ultimate hope was "to find is some basic pattern that governs all life. . .everything."

 About Susumu Ohno:
Susumu Ohno was born of Japanese parents in Seoul, Korea, on February 1, 1928. The second of five children, he was the son of the minister of education of the Japanese Protectorate of Korea. The family returned to Japan after the war in 1945. He later became a citizen of the United States of America. Susumu Ohno married musician Midori Aoyama in 1951. They had two sons and one daughter.
His passion for science derived from his lifelong love of horses. He earned a Ph.D. in veterinary science at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in 1949, and later a Ph.D. and D.Sc. from Hokkaido University. He went to the United States in 1951, as a visiting scholar to UCLA, and in 1952 joined the new research department at City of Hope Medical Center, where he remained in active research until 1996.

Music Based on part of a Immunoglobulin Gene


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