The Art of Science: A History of DNA Art

Genetic Ink

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Art and science have their similarities: both focus on exploration to reach an expression of truth, and some of the best comes from delving deep within yourself. For science, DNA is deep, the blueprint of what makes you you. In the age of ultimate personalization, it's no surprise our genetic code inspires art. Take a look back at the history of DNA art, dating back to 1985.

While genetics were born in 1866, it wasn't until 1985 when abstract artist Dennis Ashbaugh was the first to explicitly represent DNA in art, inspired by the then-new DNA sequencing gels in 1975. Since then, scientists have fully mapped the genome and made it easy to collect at-home DNA samples, spawning personalized portraits from companies like DNA11.

Startup Genetic Ink goes beyond the on-off switch appearance of the DNA gels by combining an artist's concept, your genes, and algorithms to create a unique portrait. Today, they launch their Spark collection, a collaboration with artist Mathieu Daudelin, that renders human, canine, or feline DNA into an exploding clock that's a bit more personal than strips of horizontal lines.

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For their launch (and fellow science nerds), Genetic Ink put together the infographic on the history of DNA art below:

(Image credits: "Trans-Genic Toad" by Dennis Ashbaugh; Genetic Ink)

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Tara is a Boston-based marketing maven-turned-lifestyle writer, who spends her time thrift shopping, canning, and doing DIY projects.

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