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More of an Art than a Science: Using Microbial DNA Sequences to Compose Music

    Author: Peter E. Larsen1
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    Affiliations: 1: Biosciences Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 March 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439. Phone: 630-525-3984. E-mail: plarsen@anl.gov.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 129-132. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1028
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    Abstract:

    Bacteria are everywhere. Microbial ecology is emerging as a critical field for understanding the relationships between these ubiquitous bacterial communities, the environment, and human health. Next generation DNA sequencing technology provides us a powerful tool to indirectly observe the communities by sequencing and analyzing all of the bacterial DNA present in an environment. The results of the DNA sequencing experiments can generate gigabytes to terabytes of information, however, making it difficult for the citizen scientist to grasp and the educator to convey this data. Here, we present a method for interpreting massive amounts of microbial ecology data as musical performances, easily generated on any computer and using only commonly available or freely available software and the ‘Microbial Bebop’ algorithm. Using this approach, citizen scientists and biology educators can sonify complex data in a fun and interactive format, making it easier to communicate both the importance and the excitement of exploring the planet earth’s largest ecosystem.

Key Concept Ranking

Microbial Ecology
1.0945888
Protein Folding
0.573538
Microbial Ecosystems
0.5104498
Gene Expression
0.485108
Biogeochemical Cycle
0.48510796
1.0945888

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1028
2016-03-01
2017-09-25

Abstract:

Bacteria are everywhere. Microbial ecology is emerging as a critical field for understanding the relationships between these ubiquitous bacterial communities, the environment, and human health. Next generation DNA sequencing technology provides us a powerful tool to indirectly observe the communities by sequencing and analyzing all of the bacterial DNA present in an environment. The results of the DNA sequencing experiments can generate gigabytes to terabytes of information, however, making it difficult for the citizen scientist to grasp and the educator to convey this data. Here, we present a method for interpreting massive amounts of microbial ecology data as musical performances, easily generated on any computer and using only commonly available or freely available software and the ‘Microbial Bebop’ algorithm. Using this approach, citizen scientists and biology educators can sonify complex data in a fun and interactive format, making it easier to communicate both the importance and the excitement of exploring the planet earth’s largest ecosystem.

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FIGURE 1

Bebopilizer User Form. Highlights A–E reference text from the Bebopilizer Procedure section.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 129-132. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1028
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FIGURE 2

ImproVisor Screenshot. Highlights A–C reference text from the ImproVisor Methods section.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2016 vol. 17 no. 1 129-132. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1028
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