Gene Sequences

Congratulations!

You solved your second Amazing Bio-Hunt clue! 
Here is the 2nd part of your Grand Finale ticket:

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In finding the answer to this clue, you no doubt learned a lot about how artists and scientists can work together using biotechnology to create beautiful, impactful, and thought-provoking work that stimulate our senses. 

In finding the answer to this clue, you no doubt learned a lot about how artists and scientists can work together using biotechnology to create beautiful, impactful, and thought-provoking work that stimulate our senses. 

In Resurrecting the Sublime*, the scientists at Ginko Bioworks identified and isolated genes from the DNA code of extinct flowers. They were looking for the gene sequences that were likely to have created the smells of these flowers. How did they know which genes to look at? And what is a gene sequence?

Let's have a look! 

A gene is a segment of DNA that has all the information required to be read by a cell or organism so that the cell or organism can produce something. This "production" is called "expressing the gene" and it results in a physical change in the organism. So a flower would have one or more gene to express color, smell, petal shape, etc... There are an estimated ~25,000 genes in the human DNA code.

A gene sequence is the string of DNA nucleotides (the A, T, C, and Gs) in the specific order that makes up the gene. If you need to explore DNA quickly, have a go at the What is DNA simulation!

So, the scientists were able to use existing knowledge the community already had learned from investigating other smelly organisms and flowers in order to estimate they were finding the right gene sequences that would produce smells.

With these gene sequences, scientists expressed (produced) the enzymes encoded in the genes, and scent artist Sissel Tolaas used her expertise to transform these enzyme into reconstructed the flower fragrances.

You can always learn more about DNA and how it is used in biotechnology in Chapter 1 of the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero book!

 

*RESURRECTING THE SUBLIME, a new collaborative work bringing together cutting-edge scientific research and immersive installations, by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Sissel Tolaas, and a team of synthetic biologists at Ginkgo Bioworks led by Christina Agapakis, with the support of IFF Inc. https://www.resurrectingthesublime.com/