The Base Pair
As a Biomolecular Science major, I studied the beauty and complexity of the body. I find myself continuously amazed by the material I learn, and I strive to make such ideas accessible to others through unique mediums. My studies focused partly on DNA and the complex history of genetics, a topic often shrouded in mystery to many. More often than not, we think about genetic material as either a double helix or a chromosome, but few actually think about the connection between the two structures. “The Base Pair” presents the process of DNA packaging from its simplest form to the complex chromosome.
DNA is comprised of four nucleotides: adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cysteine (C). These nucleotides combine as base pairs: A with T and G with C. These bases create the platform of the shoes, as they are truly our foundation. The platforms are complimentary, where an A appears on one foot, a T is in the exact same position on the other foot. Through a series of interactions and bonds, the repeating base pairs form two antiparallel strands of DNA.
These strands then merge into a coil, creating the iconic double helix structure. The helices wind around the toe of the shoe, until they encounter something that changes their course- histones. These proteins bind DNA tightly causing the helix to wind around it, just as the DNA begins to do at the topline of the toe area. The complexes formed are called nucleosomes and can be seen forming as the DNA snakes toward the ankle. These nucleosomes wind and fold further, forming chromatin fibers. The initiation of these chromatin fibers can be seen at the back of the heel. Finally, the chromatin fibers coil even further to form a chromatid as the heel of the shoe.
A chromosome is made up of two chromatids joined together by a centromere. Seeing as the two shoes form one chromatid each, the centromere becomes the body of the wearer, transforming them into a complete chromosome. Just as a pair of feet is the base for one to stand upright and encounter the world, so too is DNA the root of all life. “The Base Pair,” an amalgamation of the foundation of human life.
Awarded the Best in Category: Sculpture Award and People's Choice Award at the 2019 Science as Art Competition at the University of Michigan