hang your backup on the wall

DNA11: Spit in a tube, and they print out your DNA sequence on canvas.

Previously: Discovery DNA Explorer Kit.

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22 Responses:

  1. baconmonkey says:

    the Lusty should do that with their floor goo.

  2. lars_larsen says:

    I wonder how big the wall would have to be to fit the whole thing. Half the city?

    • strangehours says:

      It's actually not a DNA sequence; it's a gel electrophoresis image. Your DNA is digested by a restriction enzyme, which cuts it up at particular small (6-10 base pair) patterns in your DNA. This leads to large numbers of fragments of different size. When these are run out on a gel, and the gel is stained with something like ethidium bromide, which binds to DNA, and fluoresces under UV light, then you see a pattern like those in the image. Each band corresponds to a differently sized fragment of DNA.

      • lars_larsen says:

        I know what gel electrophoresis is. Thankyouverymuch.

        That is NOT all of it. Thats just DNA fingerprinting. They look at specific portions that happen to differ a lot (introns). They use a restriction enzyme specific to variable number tandem repeats. If they didn't do this, all of their art would be 99 percent the same. DUH!

        I love how condecending you are, and how wrong you are.

        Thats not all of it.

        • strangehours says:

          I'm really sorry you thought I was being condescending. Either way, however, your rudeness is unjustified.

          I disagree that I'm wrong. Obviously using a nonspecific restriction enzyme on a large genome will lead to a useless blur, and so the enzymes are chosen so as to produce a useful result.

          Also, it's incorrect to suggest that length polymorphisms are a feature of introns. They can quite happily occur in intergenic regions as well as in exons.

          • Can I just say that this bit of nerdy genetic arguing has gotten me all hot and bothered? Thanks for that... time to hit the bars.

            By the way, you're right. Maybe the other one is thinking of DNA sequencing?

          • lars_larsen says:

            Yeah yeah, you know what you're talking about, but you're still wrong. I wasn't being rude, I was just pointing out that you're both condescending AND wrong. I wouldnt have pointed that out if you werent wrong. Even if I dont know what it is, other people who read it might not.

            If the point is to produce a unique gel. You're not going use the entire genome.

            If humans are 99 percent the same, then why would you throw every single bit of every chromosome in? You'd get a useless blur, and even if you didnt, you'd get identicla prints for every customer.

            Real DNA fingerprinting is so restrictive, its only looking at VERY short sequences. They're not including the rest. It would make a mess. Therefore you're wrong, it is not "the whole thing".

            It appears that what you JUST said is that they use a specific restriction enzyme for repeats. So how are you not wrong in saying that image us the result of an entire genome?

            • strangehours says:

              It's 'all of it' in so far as, for a given sample, and for the reagents and processes used (be they restriction enzymes, PCR primers, whatever) the result is a single image. There's no more to see. What's thrown into the mix is the total DNA of the sample in question, and that's exactly what's visualised. It's lossy - there's no way that you'll get an image that represents the whole ~3Gb of your genome (though that's not too far off) - but there's no way that you can 'see more' using the same set of reactions.

              I guess in summary, it depends - to my mind - on how you look at it.

              As I said before. I was not being condescending. Let's look at the definition of the word:

              To descend to the level of one considered inferior; lower oneself.

              I don't consider you inferior, nor do I think I'm lowering myself - the worst I could be accused of is pedagogy. jwz's readership is without doubt extremely diverse, and it seemed sensible to provide a little bit of information regarding the process, seeing as it's something close to my heart, and loosely related to the area in which I've worked for the last 5 years, and am currently engaged in a PhD in. Rather than comment apropos of nothing, I chose to frame it as a reply to your original comment.

              • lars_larsen says:

                So because they started with the whole genome, and took a picture of one nearly a billionth of it, that means its the whole thing?

                Where are the rest of the fragments? All in one band? How is that an image of the entire genome, any more than me spitting on a wall is an image of my entire genome?

                • strangehours says:

                  If it's made with restriction enzymes, then there's a band at the very bottom of the gel with all the really heavy fragments. If it's a PCR then I would guess that there's an incredibly faint band in a similar place for the unamplified chomosomal DNA.

                  What, other than a string of [ACGT]{3e9} *is* image of your entire genome? If that's all then the answer to your original question is obvious. It would take a canvas of about 55 metres square, on which each basepair was a 1mm x 1mm dot of colour to cover 'the rest' of the genome. Currently it would (theoretically) cost you about $100,000 and 4 days to make, and probably much longer to find a printer able to print it.

            • I've done this procedure before, and I know that restriction enzymes cut the DNA into fragments at specific sequences. Say, for example, the restriction enzyme will cut the DNA only at a TAAATGC sequence. There will many many cuts made to each DNA strand, resulting in long and short pieces of DNA. These pieces will move across the gel at different speeds, allowing for separation - long pieces move slowly because they are bulkier, and slow pieces will move farther along the gel. Therefore, because everyone (save for twins) has different DNA, the cuts will be made at different locations, and everyone will have a different output on the gel. The entire DNA sequence of the person is used. I may not be a geneticist, but I've had a significant amount of training and haven't ever heard of a process where the genome was first cut up, selected for certain pieces, and then put through a gel. It would simply take too long, and this process has proven effective enough.

              • lars_larsen says:

                Do you know how DNA fingerprinting works? They're restricting for certain repeats. The rest just gets left alone, and would be too big to fit through the gel at all. That or they just amplified the repeats and left the rest out.

                • sclatter says:

                  OF COURSE they are amplifying the repeats. You are sending them a spit sample. How many µg of DNA do you think that is exactly? You think you are going to throw some restriction enzymes on that and get a pretty gel out of it?

                  Clearly they are throwing some primers in there (probably against repetitive "satellite" DNA sequences that vary in copy number from person to person so you get a unique image) and PCRing the lot.

                  It's funny that they bother including size markers. It's funnier that the size markers make it obvious that 3/4 of their sample images are hung upside down.

        • sc00ter says:

          I didn't find his response condecending, I found it kind of informative actually.

  3. xed_geek says:

    This is just cool, and handy for later investigations (just point at the wall).

  4. geek_chick says:

    Honestly...I don't really know why...but I want.

  5. jotunheim says:

    Will the DNA Lounge have one of those?

  6. freiheit says:

    The DNA Lounge clearly needs one of these in the "Matrix" color scheme:

    • knowbuddy says:

      Especially if they could hook it up Antitrust-esque and have it change based on who is around. That would be a pleasantly creepy way of identifying people.

      "Bob's here. Let's go meet him."
      "How do you know?"
      "I saw his DNA flash by at the entrance."

      (Yes, I realize that gel electrophoresis isn't realtime.)