Fusing art and science: DNA sculpture

DNA sculpture

UC Davis is a place where art and science fuse to give people new ways of looking at life.

A 50-foot-tall sculpture of DNA, “Portrait of a DNA Sequence,” hangs in the main stairwell of the Life Sciences Building, administrative home of the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences. The sculpture was created in 1997 by artist Roger Berry to be both artistically expressive and scientifically accurate. It consists of two stainless-steel backbones forming the double helix with 200 base-pairs that link the strands and encode information displayed in colored glass. The bases change color depending on the angle of view.

The work depicts a particular segment of DNA that was first deciphered at UC Davis. In life, the segment is the blueprint for a type of protein that transports materials around inside the cells of humans and most other organisms.

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