Protein Music: Patterns of Life

ambience: synthesized musical interpretation of the spider silk protein, “Spidroin”

All living things are composed of particular kinds of molecules, and these molecules have a structure and a pattern. Well, if you could read this pattern like a musical score, it might sound something like this. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. According to Mary Anne Clark, a professor of Biology at Texas Wesleyan University, every generation of cells in every living organism plays the genetic score of its species. Clark explains why she feels that biology and music relate to each other so well.

ambience

“What a musician does is to put patterns together. And I think that what biologists and all scientists do, is to put patterns together. Trying to make sense of the world. And that search for patterns, or that search for law, may be also at the heart of the fine arts as well. Trying to make sense of things.”

Mary Anne Clark is inspired by proteins, one of the molecules that organic matter is made out of. Within this larger molecule are sub-units, known as amino acids. We’ve been listening to the genetic score of a spider silk protein, we’re playing out its sequences of amino acids note by note.

“If you look at the structure of a protein, what you have is a long chain. A long chain of these sub-units, of the amino acids and that can run anywhere from fifty to thousands. And so, you have you have a long string of data. It’s like a long melody, or even a very long musical composition.”

Please visit our website at National Geographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

ambience

Protein Music: Patterns of Life

Patterns are the basis for all things scientific and aesthetic.
Air Date:08/31/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


ambience: synthesized musical interpretation of the spider silk protein, “Spidroin”

All living things are composed of particular kinds of molecules, and these molecules have a structure and a pattern. Well, if you could read this pattern like a musical score, it might sound something like this. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. According to Mary Anne Clark, a professor of Biology at Texas Wesleyan University, every generation of cells in every living organism plays the genetic score of its species. Clark explains why she feels that biology and music relate to each other so well.

ambience

“What a musician does is to put patterns together. And I think that what biologists and all scientists do, is to put patterns together. Trying to make sense of the world. And that search for patterns, or that search for law, may be also at the heart of the fine arts as well. Trying to make sense of things.”

Mary Anne Clark is inspired by proteins, one of the molecules that organic matter is made out of. Within this larger molecule are sub-units, known as amino acids. We’ve been listening to the genetic score of a spider silk protein, we’re playing out its sequences of amino acids note by note.

“If you look at the structure of a protein, what you have is a long chain. A long chain of these sub-units, of the amino acids and that can run anywhere from fifty to thousands. And so, you have you have a long string of data. It’s like a long melody, or even a very long musical composition.”

Please visit our website at National Geographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

ambience