MIT Tech Review is profiling the work of Dr. Gil Alterovitz, a research fellow at the Harvard Medical School and MIT, to use mathematical methods to convert DNA information of gene expression into “music”, the harmony of which would indicate potential problems or lack thereof.
From MIT Tech Review:
Alterovitz employed mathematical modeling to determine relationships between physiological signals. Much like the various systems in an automobile, many physiological signs work in synchrony to keep a body healthy. “These signals [are] not isolated parts,” says Alterovitz. “Like in a car, one gear is working with other gears to control, for example, power steering. Similarly, there are lots of correlations between physiological variables. If heart rate is higher, other variables will move together in response, and you can simplify that redundancy and information.”
Using data collected from a study of protein expression in colon cancer, Alterovitz analyzed more than three thousand related proteins involved in the disease. He whittled down the thousands of proteins to four key networks, using various genetic databases that catalog relationships between genes and proteins. He then assigned a note to each network, and together, these notes formed a harmonic chord. He compared the “music” of normal, healthy human data sets to that of the colon-cancer samples and found that, according to his model, colon cancer sounded “inharmonious.”
We can’t wait to karaoke along with colon cancer cells!
Here’s audio and video from the project demonstrating the system…
More at the MIT Technology Review…