Making DNA art for DNA Day 2015

National DNA Day has a fun challenge for teachers and classrooms using Pinterest.  Your class can join a larger, national, effort to create a National DNA Day Pinterest board by making your own class Pinterest board on DNA, genetics, and genomics.  Some possible topics are:

  • Things to do with DNA
  • DNA and health
  • DNA and the Arts
  • DNA in the News

We're really excited about the topic on DNA and the Arts!

Here's how you can make some lovely DNA Art images for your Pinterest board in Molecule World on an iPad or, if you don't have access to an iPad, you can use Cn3D.

 

1.  Go to our DNA search at the NCBI.

Right now, the molecular modeling database at the NCBI contains at least 4900 structures with DNA.  That makes plenty of molecules to choose from.

 

2.  Scroll through the list of structures or add terms to narrow your choices down.

  • You might look for special kinds of DNA, like A, B, or Z DNA.
  • Interesting structures like nucleosomes or telomeres are fun to view.
  • Or take a look at DNA in a complex with proteins like RNA polymerase or a drug.

 

3.  When you pick a structure to view, click the link to see the structure record.

DNA_record_drug

 

4.  Often, a structure record will contain links to articles about that structure.  When there aren't links, I just copy the title and do a Google search.  One of these will usually tell me something interesting about the structure.

Citation_reference

 

5.  Then, I touch the View structure link to download the structure to my iPad.

view_structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  And I open the structure in Molecule World.

open_MW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  You can see this structure (4MN8) below.

variolin_b_MoleculeWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Once a structure is in Molecule World, you can touch the molecule icon to apply different drawing styles, show or hide different parts of the structure, or use different coloring styles to uncover interesting features of the structure.

I chose "Space fill" as the drawing style and "Residue" as the coloring style.  This helps me see how the drug is inserted (or intercalated) between a cytosine and a guanine.

 

9.  When you have an image you like, you can touch the camera icon and save the image.  Or if your iPad is connected to a class Pinterest account, you can pin your image directly on your class Pinterest board as shown below.

IMG_1201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see how this looks and some other images we've captured from Molecule World on the Digital World Biology Pinterest page.

See the NHGRI DNA Day 2015 page for instructions on how to participate.

Molecule World is available in the iTunes app store.  For more information, see Digital World Biology.

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I think this is a great way of fully understanding DNA and seeing it in it's 3D form.

By u15000886 (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

Can this changing of the structure of DNA occur in an organism? can this also change the sequencing of genetic information in a living cell?

By sifiso dubazan… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

There are different forms of DNA that occur in living organisms and modifications to the structure - methylation, for example. There can be changes to the sequence, in the form of mutations, and sometimes rearrangements, like in the immune system. But changes to the sequence don't occur very often and they don't occur in every cell.

By sporte on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by sifiso dubazan… (not verified)

Art and Life Sciences teaming up together? Now that is what one can refer to as 'interesting". Learners and the people who are keen into knowing more about DNA would surely find this blog useful.

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

Art and Life Sciences teaming up together? Now that is what one can refer to as 'interesting". Learners and the people who are keen into knowing more about DNA would surely find this blog useful.
15114555

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

Art and Life Sciences teaming up together? Now that is what one can refer to as "interesting". Learners or students and also the people who are keen into knowing more about DNA and it's structure would definitely find this blog helpful.

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

Art and Life Sciences teaming up together? Now that is what one can refer to as "interesting". Students and the people that are keen into knowing more about DNA and it's structure would definitely find this blog helpful.
15114555

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

ART and Life Sciences teaming up? Now that is what one can refer to as "interesting". Students and the people who are keen in knowing more about DNA and it's structure would definitely find this blog helpful.
15114555

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this is a great way to get people interested in science. By making it a fun learning experience. This approach should be applied to more fields in science to get young people involved and interested as early as possible.

By Donovin van To… (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

Thanks!

By sporte on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Donovin van To… (not verified)

Art and Life Sciences teaming up? Now that is what one can refer to as "interesting". Students and the people who are keen to know more about DNA and it's structure would definitely find this blog helpful.

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this is a lovely way to gain a greater understanding of DNA. It's a concept that should be implemented during classes too, as it seems like a creative fun learning experience.

By D Bedesi (15001246) (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this is a lovely way to gain a greater understanding of DNA. It's a concept that should be implemented during classes too, as it seems like a creative fun learning experience. 15001246

I strongly believe that through 3-D structures people will be more and more interested in learning not only about the DNA molecule as well as other molecules such as proteins. This is also a way of making science fun as the different parts of the DNA molecule will be more vivid hence easy to understand.

By Marcos JI (15056024) (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I strongly believe that through 3-D structures people will be more and more interested on learning not only DNA molecules but also other structures or molecules such as proteins. This is also a way of making science fun as the different parts of the molecule (DNA) will be more vivid hence easy to understand.

By Marcos JI (15056024) (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

Art and Life Sciences teaming up? Now that is what one can refer to as " interesting ". Students and the people who are keen to know more about DNA and it's structure would definitely find this article helpful.

By Reginah Uzitho… (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree that this is a great, innovative approach as it not only gets students more excited and motivated about the learning process in studying science, but also teachers, given that we live in such a technology dominated society.

I think that it is a more effective learning strategy as it develops the mind further in learning in 3D form rather than the common way of studying from a page in a textbook, therefore improving our understanding and broadening our knowledge about the structures of DNA molecules.

By Hayley Wright … (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is a great way of teaching and learning. The use 3-D structures will make the learning much more interesting for students and easy to understand. This way should not only be used in structures such as DNA molecules but also in other structures like proteins as its different parts will be more vivid. This way, science will be more fun.

By Marcos JI (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think that this is such a great and interesting way to learn about DNA. This makes both teaching and learning more exciting and it's a good way to make learners more enthusiastic about this topic. Using these 3-D structures of DNA will definitely help learners understand the work and this will have a positive effect on their education.

By u15089208 (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

The DNA STRUCTURES IN 3-D LOOK AMAZING!!! This is something i would find interest in doing because i'm into both science and arts so i this would be killing two birds with one stone ,Great job !!

By Minenhle Ramok… (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think that this a great way of learning about DNA. It makes both teaching and learning fun and interesting at the same time. This new way of learning about DNA using 3-D DNA structures will help learners understand the work more better and will definitely improve their marks.

By u15089208 (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

i find this more useful and understandable. seeing the structure of DNA in 3D makes it more simpler for a student to understand it even better.

By Thato Tshehla … (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

3D modeling is the most understandable concept and it will also make things easier for students to understand certain concepts.

3D modeling is the most understandable concept and it will also make things easier for students to understand certain concepts.

u14133629

This is a great initiative that will help students or learners to understand the complexities of the various DNA types. It is interactive and allows the learner or student to be immersed in the processes of DNA formation. It also allows them to be creative.

By Omphile Ntshab… (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

Since it is not clearly indicated as to at which level of education this is going to take place.I personally think that this task will be academically beneficial to high schools(at lower grades) as its focus is greatly on only the structure and location of the DNA.Then learners can know exactly what they are learning about when they get to higher grades where DNA is dealt with into much greater detail.

By Boysana Ramalo… (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

This does not only seem fun, it is also a great learning tool.

By Mokgantsho Mor… (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

I totally agree with Heyley , studying from a page in a textbook gets boring at times. I think learning in 3D can trigger excitement in most young scientists and be passionate to learn more.

By Nhlabathi TJ u… (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

Nice, we made a DNA model at school , it was great and the way we made the nitrogenous based, with different sweets, people should try this it will help
them understand DNA better
u15116728

Yes indeed most of students understand something when they see it and this enhances their memory to recall easy.
This 3D modelling is so interesting even when you look at it, i
like this!
u15297307

I never got the chance to do things like this at school, and I think it is absolutely great to do interactive modeling like this. Not only will it give a better idea of the DNA structure, but it also will improve the basics of a student's knowledge. When the platform is well built, the house will stand strong.

I never got the chance to do things like this at school, and I think it is absolutely great to do interactive modeling like this. Not only will it give a better idea of the DNA structure, but it also will improve the basics of a student's knowledge. When the platform is well built, the house will stand strong.
15000062

This is a good way to make learning about DNA and all of its functions very fun and interactive for students. It will also make the studying a bit easier because as they're working on their models and ideas for DNA Day they will unknowingly be studying and storing the information in their long-term memory.
A great idea!

By Claudia Gevers… (not verified) on 12 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think that this new method is a very good approach in motivating the students to study their work. This will help keep the learning process interesting and the children will learn more effectively, because they will see the structures in 3D and will not have to study from a book only. This strategy will make the teacher's work more fun and both teachers and students can benefit from this new way of studying.

By Jo-Hanne van d… (not verified) on 12 Apr 2015 #permalink

Exploring details in science can be a heck of hard work but their is an easy one- pinterest! This is one of the brighter side of technology- its simply involves you and you get logic, sense and maybe develop an insight out something. isn't that to detailed? then after you can just make sense of every thing you may read pertaining the subject . It did interest me not only to see the structure of DNA but how each of DNA components fit in together such as sugar and nitrogenous base and i may even wonder what forces hold the structure together.

By Brian Ndlovu (not verified) on 13 Apr 2015 #permalink

DNA as itself is very interesting , this blog has made it fun and also possible to learn beter or in different ways so that people may enjoy the work and also pay attention to detail .The illustration is very well used and accurate .This method wil definitely attract more attention for learners and will make the jobs of the teachers alot easier .

By u15135919 (not verified) on 13 Apr 2015 #permalink

This idea will definitely help to get more people interested in biology. It is a great way to make science fun and understandable to everyone. It is an excellent idea to combine different interest fields like science and art and maybe in the future we can use music or physical activities to explain science from a new perspective. We should remember that science is not meant for scientists only.

By Danielle van Wyk (not verified) on 13 Apr 2015 #permalink

DNA Day is a day I look forward to every year! It is a chance to meet new people and new students and talk about the exciting things going on in genetics.

By Tracy 13167482 (not verified) on 14 Apr 2015 #permalink

i think this a good way of presenting DNA most students will understand it very easily.It also helps teachers in their way of teaching. many people will be excited to attend it

By nomahlubi podile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this will be a great way of teaching DNA and it will help students to understand it in a better way because of the visuals. Most people will attend this day and will find it very helpful

By nomahlubi podile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this will make understanding DNA a lot easier because it has art in it.Also the teachings will be easy. I think people will enjoy it and be interested more in biology

By nomahlubi podile (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is very interesting. I would never have thought of it to make art from DNA. Actually there has always been DNA art- all living organisms. It is because of our DNA that we are these unique people. So people create DNA art and DNA creates people.

By Stefan Koning … (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this is a great way of showing people out there how the DNA structure looks and the differences in the DNA. It is also a great way to learn more about it as learning from a book becomes menotinus and seeing and actually looking at these structures would make learning much easier.

By Tim Blaker (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

this is a very good way to study because sometimes you get bored when you are studying and there are black and white pictures of structures but these 3-D structures just make you wanna know more about the DNA..... Just cannot wait for DNA Day to gain more knowledge.

By musawenkosi ma… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

this is a good idea, using 3-D structures like these to study will bring much interest and focus in studying and many people will be more interested in science. studying this way will decrease the mentality that science is hard ... cannot for DNA Day to gain more knowledge

By musawenkosi ma… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is good to have a DNA Day because it will bring interest to other people who are not on the spectrum of science and also more knowledge to those dealing with science

By musawenkosi ma… (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

i think by doing the 3D DNA structure is a very god idea ,it might increase the understanding of those learners who are studying biology,most times learning gets easier when you are being taught about what you see.so this idea of exposing this structure is a very brilliant idea.it will even attract those people who are not doing science .

By puseletso (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think the idea of Art and Life Sciences working together will be a good idea because it will help everyone to understand the structure of DNA clearly

By Nanelo(14362938) (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

ooh wow this is interesting ,and i think the 3-D structure of DNA helps in improving / increasing the level of understanding on DNA molecules.#14065925

By L.G Raditla (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

What happens when you mix DNA and art? A fun filled learning experience! Not only will DNA Art Day trigger people to be more aware of the many wonders and functions of DNA, but students will also learn more. To be painfully honest, most students will never reach the point where learning becomes fun and will always jump to the occasion when an easier outcome is provided. DNA Art Day will help students everywhere learn more about DNA without them even realizing it!

By Alone Joubert … (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Ooh wow this is interesting, and I think the 3-D structure helps in improving or increasing the level of understanding on DNA molecules. #14065925

By LG Raditla (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Wow I just got interested in genetic after my first awesome lecture on it at school and now after reading this blog.

By Nehemia Mokgaliphe (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Cool!

By sporte on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Nehemia Mokgaliphe (not verified)

Science and Art have always been passions of mine and it is wonderful to see the two joining up together to help people understanding genetics better. It would be lovely to see this sort of thing extended to other areas of science. It'a time to show people that science is creative and fun!

14020123

The DNA structure is so magnificent, and so is DNA itself, I find it remarkable that it is the basis of who we really are on a microscopic level, and it's really amazing that such things as DNA Day are put in place to help us know more about DNA which is in fact learning more about ourselves. [12373983]

By Collen Mkhatshwa (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

Am so interested in genetics after my first lecture on it in school and after reading this blog. Due to DNA knowledge scientist were able to invent medication that can be use in diseases such as Cancer in order to increase the life span for people living with it. Investing in DNA researches the countries might get solutions to many problematic issues.

By Nehemia Mokgaliphe (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

It sounds like fun, this makes more students to be educated and know the structure of the DNA which is a genetical material. The experience i bet it feels like a hobby though it is creating students with more knowledge in genetics and DNA structure, which is more practical and fun as you can play with colours which makes it more like art s than science.

By Mbiza xongile,… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

After looking at the DNA 3-D structure I observed that the understanding of how atoms bond and sequancing the atoms that form the DNA made it possible to make such an understable structure. This shows that many other boilogical molecules such as proteins can be made in this fashion.

By Nanelo (14362938) (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

I have a question: The pictures of the DNA art, is that DNA? The reason I am asking is because usually DNA is linear dubbel-helix shaped molecule and the molecules in those pictures is not in that shape. Please tell me if I am wrong.

By Stefan Koning … (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

The image in the picture is derived from a real DNA structure. The two strands are pretty short, one is only 5 bases long and the other is only 6 bases long, so you can only see part of the double-helix. The other thing that makes this structure a little different, is that it's bound to a drug called Variolin B that slips in between two of the bases.

The computer modeling program (Molecule World) uses data from real structures to draw DNA in different ways. The drawing styles are tubes, ball and stick models, or in a space-filling mode to show the size of the electron clouds around each atom. The program can also hide or show different elements. So, there are some aspects of the model, like the colors, that you wouldn't see if we were looking at the molecule itself.

By sporte on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Stefan Koning … (not verified)

I am studying Genetics and a project like this can make a huge contribution in the field. The more people interested in DNA will ensure that cures for multiple diseases can be found and research in the fields will evolve as well.
14010926

By Charne Coetzer (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think this is a great initiative for learners to learn outside the classroom. The learners are going to love learning in this way and it will lead to much more effective learning than just learning in class!

By Tlharihani Mab… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

this is a great initiative. The fun experience will lead to much more effective learning than just a normal classroom. Things like these could help in significantly raising the percentage of learners that pass Science

By Tlharihani Mab… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is a really great way for us students to learn because not only will we be engaging more with the topic of DNA but we will also be interacting with each other as fellow classmates and we will be feeding on each other's knowledge.

By Z Manzini (u15… (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

@#62 Thank you for the response Sandra. That makes much more sense now. And just another question: Are the DNA model in the picture exactly how an actual part of a DNA molecule would look like or is it slightly modified that there are Variolin B added? And what colour is the drug (Variolin B) in the picture?

By Stefan Koning … (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

Hi Stefan,

You asked "Are the DNA models in the pictures exactly how an actual part of a DNA molecule would look like or is it slightly modified that there are Variolin B added?"

For the top model, no. Molecule World takes the coordinates and draws the DNA so that each the atoms is in the 3 dimensional spot where the data say it would be located. But, this isn't exactly how the DNA with the Variolin B would look.

In the model at the bottom, the DNA is drawn with a space filling mode. This one does look quite a bit like the DNA would look, except it wouldn't be in color.

For your other question, "And what colour is the drug (Variolin B) in the picture?"

In the top image, the drug is shown in a Ball & Stick drawing style and it's grey & blue. In the image at the bottom, each residue in the DNA is colored by base (red, blue, green, yellow), and the drug is shown in white.

By sporte on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Stefan Koning … (not verified)

this is good most of people wii now understand dna better and it is goo when art is teaming up with science 15198309

By rolindela pern… (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

wow these is extremely fascinating as it enhances my knowledge about the DNA STRUCTURE which plays a significant role to life

By lesego mathe (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

indeed DNA 3D STRUCTURE is ta good model that symbolises life
u14258642

By lesego mathe (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

this is indeed interesting as it enhances my knowledge about the DND structure

By lesego mathe (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is really interesting. Art and Science, is equal to great staff. I think it would be much fun if they also team up with engineers.

By Nompumelelo Si… (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

was the lengths of structure taken into considerations?

By Nanelo(14362938) (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

I like how they are used in food industry.

WOW,great stuff...

I like the idea how they use this in food industry. 15202829

u15064558 This is actually a good thing as some people learn and understanding more when they see what they are working with therefore this will increase the number of learners who will understand how DNA works.

By Nosipho Masina (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is so fascinating. It is very educational and it could help to lubricate people’s understanding on DNA structure and also build interest to those who are keen to learn about DNA. 15133584

By Tshivhase Thog… (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is a wonderful way in which young students like first years as well as children in high school as well as primary school can learn about the structure of the DNA molecule. This would especially be useful for learners who understand things more through visuals. The use of the 3D form for DNA could also incite people into pursuing a career in science especially the life sciences path. u15036945

By Jacqueline Maphutha (not verified) on 19 Apr 2015 #permalink

Are these structures part of one strand of the DNA, or are these mutations of the DNA itself?

By Z.P. Booysen (… (not verified) on 19 Apr 2015 #permalink

There are two strands of DNA that was synthesized in an oligonucleotide synthesizer. This DNA doesn't contain mutations.

By sporte on 19 Apr 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Z.P. Booysen (… (not verified)

This is a great, interactive way to see different DNA molecules. More teachers should use this as a teaching aid to help students understand the different components of the DNA structure.

By Kewil Bhima (not verified) on 19 Apr 2015 #permalink