Poetry in our genomes

Poetry in our genomes.

“We are more alike than unalike,” are words from Maya Angelou’s sublime poem, “Human Family.” She wrote what she intuitively knew to be true, and what science has subsequently shown — we are intricately connected in deep time through an ancient genetic lineage to everyone alive today. 

We share about 99.9 percent of our DNA with all humans. 

The fact that we are so similar is what allowed the first human reference genome to be built, becoming the standard for deciphering our individual genomes. Now that we know our lineages are ancient, and our code so similar yet intricately different — we start to get the wonderment. Making the genetic human family story a fascinating mix of science and the arts.

That’s the pure poetry in our genomes. Listen to Maya Angelou, read the poem in her melodic voice. It’s a short, captivating video produced by Apple Computer.

The SciArt movement.

Are you curious about the avant-garde movement that merges science and art? Most artists call it SciArt and refer to themselves as SciArtists. Arthur Miller, author of “Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science Is Redefining Contemporary Art,” names it the ArtSci movement.

Whatever which way, the hybridization of science-art-technology is influencing our culture just as profoundly as past art-only movements have. Miller considers the collaboration of artists and scientists using technology a Twenty-first Century phenomenon where the separate areas merge into a new, unified domain. He gave some examples:

— People who bring their coding skills and scientific knowledge to develop new art forms. Data visualization is an example that uses algorithms to create images — making art with data.

— Biology influenced art that focuses on changes to our bodies that may overtake current tattooing practices.  

For more about where the movement may lead, listen to a conversation Miller had with Ira Flatow on Science Friday. The 17-minute podcast is titled, “Where Art and Science Collide.”

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