Figure 1.

Human thymidylate synthase A (ThyA) protein sequence converted into single notes based on a 20-note range. (a) Amino acids were assigned a musical note starting an octave below middle C and based primarily on the hydrophobicity of the particular amino acid (Trp-C, Met-D, Pro-E, His-F, Tyr-G, Phe-A, Leu-B, Ile-C, Val-D, Ala-E, Cys-F, Gly-G, Thr-A, Ser-B, Gln-C, Asn-D, Glu-E, Asp-F, Arg-G, Lys-A). Having a one-to-one ratio of amino-acid assignment to musical notes results in a range that spans 2.5 octaves. Though this code may initially be the most obvious assignment, the approach leaves large jumps between consecutive notes as pointed out by the arrows. The large intervals occur sporadically and tend to interrupt any cohesive melody that may be heard. The 20-note range assignment also limits musicality and the ability to create a memorable theme. (b) Partial human ThyA protein sequence converted into chords based on a reduced-note assignment. Certain similar amino acids were paired and assigned a three-note chord (triad) starting an octave below middle C. Each member of the amino-acid pair was distinguished from the other by using different variations of the same fundamental triad, namely the root position (RP) and first inversion (FI) chord. Amino acids were assigned to the following notes: Trp-C, Met-D, Pro-E, His-F, {Tyr-G (RP), Phe-G (FI)}, {Leu-A (RP), Ile-A (FI)}, {Val-B (RP), Ala-B (FI)}, Cys-C, Gly-D, {Thr-E (RP), Ser-E (FI)}, {Gln-F (RP), Asn-F (FI)}, {Glu-G (RP), Asp-G (FI)}, {Arg-A (RP), Lys-A (FI)}. The result is a reduced, 13-base note range that minimizes the interval jumps between consecutive notes and produces a fuller sound with the use of the triads based on a particular key signature. For example, tyrosine is represented by a G major, root position triad.

Takahashi and Miller Genome Biology 2007 8:405   doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-5-405
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