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Title: More of an art than a science: Using microbial DNA sequences to compose music

Bacteria are everywhere. Microbial ecology is emerging as a critical field for understanding the relationships between these ubiquitous bacterial communities, the environment, and human health. Next generation DNA sequencing technology provides us a powerful tool to indirectly observe the communities by sequencing and analyzing all of the bacterial DNA present in an environment. The results of the DNA sequencing experiments can generate gigabytes to terabytes of information however, making it difficult for the citizen scientist to grasp and the educator to convey this data. Here, we present a method for interpreting massive amounts of microbial ecology data as musical performances, easily generated on any computer and using only commonly available or freely available software and the ‘Microbial Bebop’ algorithm. Furthermore, using this approach citizen scientists and biology educators can sonify complex data in a fun and interactive format, making it easier to communicate both the importance and the excitement of exploring the planet earth’s largest ecosystem.
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1935-7877
American Society for Microbiology
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES citizen science; microbial bebop; data sonification; microbial ecology; scientific outreach