Home General Biotechnology DNA-o-gram generator — Send a message in the language of life

DNA-o-gram generator — Send a message in the language of life

I programmed the DNA-o-gram generator over a decade ago as an excuse to learn web programming. In the intervening years it has been suggested as an encryption method, used as a teaching aid, and even cited in a law review.

The basis for the DNA-o-gram generator is quite simple. The genetic code found in all living organisms from bacteria to humans, uses DNA to encode for an alphabet of approximately 20 ‘amino acids’ which are assembled to make proteins, that do work. Despite coding for only 20 amino acids, the genetic code actually has 64 possible combinations — enough for a lower-case and upper-case alphabet, the numbers 0-9, a space and a stop character.

So, I developed the DNA-o-gram generator to illustrate how the genetic code can be used to encode regular words, and to illustrate how different kinds of mutations or reading errors can affect the decoded messages.

Check it out at http://www.thinkbiotech.com/DNA-o-gram/

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