Music and DNA :-)

"Robert Harper ", Finland HARPER%FINFUN at PUCC.PRINCETON.EDU
Thu Sep 6 13:31:00 EST 1990


There was a small article in Genetic engineering news a few years ago,
which dealt with the theme "What does Chopin's Funeral March have in
common with the DNA coding sequence for tyrosine kinase." Well, music
like DNA is dominated by periodicity and repeated cycles.

Apparently some Japanese scientist used the code of certain DNA
molecules to compose music. He made musical transformations of the
first 51 codons of phosphoglycerate kinase and the resulting music
when played on the violin was said to be very pleasing to the ear. He
has also reversed the procedure and transcribed well known musical
scores into codons, and has found homologous genes for compositions by
Bach, Mozart and Beethoven:-)

It so happens that Chopin's Nocturne Opus 55 No 1 gives you a polypeptide
rich in proline, serine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine. I don't know if
this should be taken seriously but apparently the Funeral March by Chopin
when it is coded is very much like tryosine kinase... the heart of many
cancer causing genes.

Mozart on composing:

"My subject enlarges itself, becomes methodized, and defined, and the
whole, though it be long, stands almost complete in my mind so that I can
survey it like a fine picture at a glance. Nor do I hear in my
imagination the parts SUCCESSIVELY, but I hear them as it were gleich
alles zusammen, all at once..."

Food for thought if you are one of those ancient sociobiologists :-)

Rob "heresy is always much more intersting than doctrine" Harper



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