Molecular Biology of Emiliania huxleyi

Molecular Biology of Emiliania huxleyi

Student Artist: Monica Alvarado
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon

Researcher: Dr. Betsy Read, CSUSM Molecular Cell Biology

My data set was a list of codons and amino acids that were found in Emiliania huxleyi and depicted how often each codon and amino acid were present in the Emiliania huxleyi. However, as I looked at this data set, I could not think of a way to translate this data digitally. At this point, I started to brainstorm any way I could represent this data. I thought of creating something that resembled a DNA structure, which is why I chose to do this art project to represent my data.

To translate my data into art, I took the frequency number of each codon and amino acid and raised it to the power of 10^-2 and rounded the numbers because these numbers were too big to let them stand on their own. The manipulated number represented how many crayons were going to be used to portray that specific amino acid. Each amino acid had its own color. Within each amino acid, there are multiple codons. I counted how many codons were in each amino acid and that is how many pieces the crayons would get split into.

Once I did all of the statistical part of this project. I assigned colors to amino acids and cut and glued crayons onto a canvas. Once the glue was dried, I took a heat gun and lifted one end of the canvas to melt the crayons in a downward position. After the first side was completely dried, I melted the opposite side. My hope for this project was for the crayons to resemble the double helix in DNA and after I melted the colors would connect and represent the nucleotides. However, the crayons melted in all different directs and only some connect to the other side.

2 Replies to “Molecular Biology of Emiliania huxleyi”

  1. By: Kristopher Torres
    I love how you used colorful crayons and melted them in order to create an amazing graphical piece. This turned out to be a work of art. Very nice. This is very well the meaning of data translation.

  2. Great looking project, I really like the way you organize the colors and arrange them to be complementary to the opposite side. Your idea of using crayons and melting them down, really works as a graphical representation of data.

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