BioGlitches: art generated by an error-prone code

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“The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.” Lewis Thomas

Two tricksy genetic switches control red pigment production or bioluminescence in two different species of bacteria here. The switches rapidly flick on (red pigment production or bioluminescence) or off (no pigment/no light production) and thus generate white or dark regions, respectively. Consequently, the images directly reflect minute changes in the genetic code of the respective bacteria.

In watching the bacteria grow, and in facilitating their divergence into genetically distinct forms, I feel connected to the dynamic creative energies that reside already in biology, and to the multitude of DNA strands that are thread through all of the many trillions of living cells on earth.

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