In Case You’re Wondering What the HIV Virus Sounds Like . . .

. . . Alexandra Pajak, a grad student at the University of Georgia, has made a recording by assigning different pitches to the different DNA sequences. From the snippets available, it sounds pretty good (especially for such a nasty little micro-organism). And it raises the question: With all of the recent controversy surrounding the patentability of genetic sequences (about which I’ll have a good deal more to say in an upcoming posting), perhaps we’ve been barking up the wrong tree (as it were): DNA sequences are copyrightable “musical works”!!

{UPDATE: My friend Ken Liu tells me that Carl Frederick published a story in Analog back in 2004 called “The Fruitcake Genome” — which contains music made from the genome. You can see the story and actually hear
the music based on the fruitfly genome, “The Little March of the Fruitflies,” here. Ken has also been playing around with some “genome art,” treating each letter of the genome as a direction to move the stylus in. Some examples can be seen here

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