This piece was composed starting with codons from the human genome. In particular, I focused on oxytocin, the hormone which induces labor, as my wife was pregnant when I wrote it. The 27 bases (9 amino acids) forming oxytocin are mapped to the repeating piano figure, the full oxytocin gene becomes the bass line, and snips of RNA inversions, transpositions, and gonadatropin pizzicato fill in the rest.
Oxy Fugue 9 [*.mp3 5.95 MB] 4 June 2001
Will repeat listenings induce labor? :-)
Please send your
|Amino Acid||MIDI Note|
The human genome comprises twenty-three chromosome pairs (numbered 1 through 22, plus XX for females or XY for males), around which are entwined our DNA. The DNA strands include about 3.15 billion bases. These bases are like bits encoding genetic information. But unlike binary bits, just 0 and 1, the DNA code includes four bases, named thymine, cytosine, adenine, and guanine (abbreviated T, C, A, G), which in three-base combinations compose amino acids. Along these base strands are active sections called genes. The 50,000 to 100,000 active genes range in size from 2000 to 2,000,000 bases long. The human genome sequencing project seeks to break down the DNA, determine the sequence of bases, and find the active genes.
The human genome database, listing bases in sequence, contains tables of raw information. The framing patterns of bases show the start and end of genes, much as framing patterns of bits show the start and end of packets. The mapping from bases to amino acids is a natural code.
Also intriguing is that all humans share about 99.8 percent of the same DNA. Only about 6 million of the bases differ from person to person. Still, the number of distinct possibilities this allows (perhaps 4^6000000) is a large enough number that we needn't worry about identical copies anytime soon! Meanwhile, I want to learn how to make a backup copy of myself.