Home Science Sequence of the new coronavirus results in a “charming” song

Sequence of the new coronavirus results in a “charming” song


We are still experiencing the pandemic that started in March and was caused by the new coronavirus. In fact, since the virus has been with us for so long, things that would not come to mind in a normal context are being studied and tested.

Contrary to studies on the life span of the skin, surfaces, or any other environment, a professor published an investigation that gives (literally) music to the new coronavirus.

New coronavirus is musically charming

To the surprise of Mark Temple, a molecular biologist at Western Sydney University, the musical reading of the virus genome that has been a nightmare for the world, is, in fact, enchanting. In fact, the music you take from the new coronavirus can even be used to reveal the functional properties of the virus genome, as you mentioned in an article published in BMC Bioinformatics.

According to Mark Temple, there is a margin of vision that unites science and music, the latter having always been in your life, alongside molecular biology. Before moving on to his second album, the molecular biologist had already generated audio from a human DNA sequence. This time, he caught the virus of the moment.

It was not expected that a virus that has brought so much unrest could be the conductor of music that fills your ears. As the molecular biologist explains, the genes for the new coronavirus are like chapters in a biological book. That is, they contain all the information that describes the virus and how it can work. Furthermore, these terms are made up of sequences of chemical letters that scientists designate as G, A, u, and C.

In this case, the biological book of the new coronavirus has more than 30 thousand characters. In fact, some of them come together to form an RNA sequence that corresponds to a specific amino acid.


How and why to generate music from the virus genome?

Once exploring the possibility of musicalizing elements, Mark realized that he was able to assign notes to the strings in order to generate audio. So he created an online tool that allows him to hear the sound of the new coronavirus. In other words, it manages to perceive two things, usually realized by genomes: translating, where the virus produces new proteins, and transcribing, where the genome of the virus copies itself.

In music there are several things that you can (supposedly) hear. They are the beginning and the end of the genes, the regions between the genes and the parts of the virus genome that control how the genes are emitted.

I do not intend to trivialize the pandemic, thinking about the new coronavirus in musical terms. [Mas] now that i've finished the scientific research part of this project, and i listen to the virus genome with fresh ears and from a musician's perspective, i'm surprised at how musical it sounds.

Revealed Mark Temple.

As a research tool, audio from the virus genome helps to complement some of the many visual screens that exist to represent information. In other words, it helps scientists to understand the virus and its functioning even more.

The fusion of music with science

Seeing so much potential in the audio he produced, Mark Temple decided to work with other musicians. That way, I could tame the sequence, making it musically better. So, they mixed the audio generated by the virus genome with guitars and a battery and the result was “adorable”.

The audio of the new coronavirus is pulsating and ceaseless […] The result sounds more musical than I thought […] I still hear genes and other characteristics of the new coronavirus, but the song wins in the studio.

Said Mark.


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