Scientist translates DNA into piano music

A science student from California has made a major breakthrough in the world of music – by translating DNA of a deadly disease into piano sheet music.

DNA for Huntingtons disease translated into piano music
The DNA for Huntingtons disease depicted as sheet music

As a science undergrad in UCLA, California, young aspiring pianist had to make a difficult choice – science, or composing? The talented young pianist had spent years perfecting her performance on her digital piano, before investing into a career of science. She did so, however, with a heavy heart.

“I was torn,” the talented concert pianist states.

“I grew up with classical music and spent hours sat on my stool practicing on my digital piano, and wanted it to be an active part of my life. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to tie these two together?”

Chance came for Takahashi, fortunately, as a University professor challenged her and her class to work on projects that might contribute to society.

The lecturer, genetics professor  Dr Jeffrey Miller states that “I suggested to her that, since she had this unique ability of playing an instrument, she tackle the problem of putting DNA sequences to music,”

As astounding as this feat is, it’s not the first effort, however, to turn scientific information into music. A case from the 1970’s shows jazz French horn player Willie Ruff and Yale geologist John Rodgers turn the movement of planets into melodies, ingeniously naming it “music of the spheres”.

The tune composed is based on the protein responsible for Huntington’s disease. You can listen to the music clip by clicking here.

Takahashi continues to create genetic compisitions, despite now studying hard for her genetics PhD. It is, however, with no funding, and just a love for the piano, and trying to find a correlation between her two passions – science and music.

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