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DNA Music Roundup

November 23, 2007

DNA is more than just an instruction manual for life. In fact, genes may actually function more like a well-orchested symphony.


DNA Music Roundup/Hirshon

A symphony in DNA. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists are finding that DNA—the blueprint of life – is really more like a musical score than a static blueprint. Some instructions, or genes, on DNA are active constantly, like the piano in some symphonies, while others wait for the right signal, roar to life, and then fall silent again, sort of like the bassoon section. Now researchers report in the journal Science that for the first time they have worked out the music of DNA. Looking at the root cells of the wild mustard plant, they’ve found that its genes turn on and off in complex and rhythmic ways. Another team looked at sea urchin eggs and found a jazz-like feedback between genes, with each one affecting the performance of others. Understanding the role of timing in DNA expression could lead to new insights into developmental disorders, in plants, animals and even humans. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.