Friday, December 28, 2012

Beaded DNA Bracelet

As I mentioned in my previous post, a good friend of mine requested a DNA bracelet for Christmas. I wove one for her in a peaches-and-cream color palette:
The bracelet uses the same modifications that I used for my gene regulation necklace, and in this style, 43 base pairs of beaded DNA are needed to reach the length of a bracelet. The bracelet itself is about 7 1/2 inches long, and finished with a simple silver S-clasp.
The sequence in this bracelet is from the human monoamine oxidase A gene, and some versions of this gene are thought to be a factor in several psychiatric disorders. It's an especially great conversation-starter piece for my friend, who's a school psychologist. The protein encoded by this gene is involved in the breakdown of the "happy" brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, so it's become a key target of antidepressant medications. Interestingly, one study has reported that women with a low-expression version of this gene are happier than other women. However, individuals with a dysfunctional version of this gene have a very rare genetic disorder called Brunner syndrome, which causes several psychological problems. The gene itself is over 90,000 base pairs long, so this bracelet covers only a very small portion of the start of its coding sequence.
I hope that you had a great holiday season, and best wishes for a very Happy New Year!


  1. Wonderful. Your art and science are a continuing delight. Thanks so much, and wishes for a great new year!

  2. I look forward to seeing you finish the rest of the sequence ;)

  3. Thanks kindly, though you'll be waiting a while if you want to see the rest of this sequence in bead form. Beading DNA really makes you appreciate the speed of real DNA replication (in the most rapidly-growing human cells, it can reach over 6 billion bp replicated in about eight hours!)


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