Scientists at MIT are turning proteins into musical compositions
They've taken an unorthodox approach to reinterpreting these puzzling protein structures
As if converting biological building blocks to sound weren’t enough, researchers went on to alter the resultant musical passages and turn the data into completely new, unnatural proteins that they can continue studying.
The study’s title is as follows:
“A Self-Consistent Sonification Method to Translate Amino Acid Sequences into Musical Compositions and Application in Protein Design Using Artificial Intelligence” – ACS Publications
More specifically, this system encodes music from all 20 types of amino acids found in proteins as individual notes on a 20-tone scale, rendering them audible to discerning and musically-inclined researchers.
Markus J. Buehler, a scientist involved in the study, revealed to MIT News that the search for understanding of the language proteins speak belies the entire project’s efforts.
“They have their own language, and we don’t know how it works. We don’t know what makes a silk protein a silk protein or what patterns reflect the functions found in an enzyme. We don’t know the code.” – Markus Buehler at MIT News
The protein-based music the researchers have made thus far, played back with a myriad of synths and alien percussion, proves the language spoken by amino acids is pretty experimental stuff indeed.