Proteins, the complex molecules of life, have been sequenced into classical music, researchers in the US reported on Thursday. Rie Takahashi and Jeffrey Miller of the University of California, Los Angeles, used parts of amino acids - the building blocks of proteins to devise a 20-note range spanning two octaves.
Their inspiration: thymidylate synthase A or ThyA, a protein that in a flawed form plays a part in types of cancer. The work builds on previous innovation, using the code for DNA.
But DNA has only four potential "notes" - the compounds that make up the rungs on the double-helix ladder and this is musically limiting. Takahashi and Miller believe their brainchild will be useful for getting young people interested in genomic biology.
They have also set up a browser that allows anyone to send in a sequence coding for a protein that is then converted into music and returned to the inquirer as a "midi" file or music that is transcribed into a standard software format.
Proteins can be qualified as the stuff of life, not just comprising almost all of the body's tissues but also performing myriad roles as signallers, repairers and destroyers, too.