From a 24 bus, I was intrigued to spot a fascinating twisty sculpture on the corner of Trafalgar Square. It was one of the many DNA sculptures that are situated all over London, fusing art and science, a concept from Cancer Research UK.The Research Centre says: ” The art trail is made up of 21 beautifully designed giant sculptures and runs until Sunday 6th September. Inspired by the DNA double helix form, the sculptures have been designed by some of the biggest names in art and design.”It is not only British artists who are inspired by the DNA concept. In California, USA, in the UC Davis College stands a fifty foot DNA work of art. The sculpture was created in 1997 by artist Roger Berry to be both artistically expressive and scientifically accurate. It consists of two stainless-steel backbones forming the double helix with 200 base-pairs that link the strands and encode information displayed in colored glass. The bases change color depending on the angle of view.
Also from UC Davis is this stunning hanging sculpture to be found in the Life Science building. UC Davis researchers have confirmed a central idea about chromosome repair, more than a quarter century after it was first proposed. The finding is important to scientists who seek to understand DNA repair, a vital process in preventing cancer and birth defects.
Malgosia Bzymek, a research scientist in the Department of Microbiology, and her colleagues showed that a DNA structure called the double-Holliday junction can form when growing body cells repair a broken chromosome by a process called homologous recombination.
Follow the London DNA trail – there is a map on the top link showing where each sculpture is situated. The scientific detail adds an additional dimension to works of art that are totally fascinating on their own. If you are inspired by these sculptures, tweet about them on #DNAtrail.
Boris Johnson has strongly encouraged the arts during his Mayoralty. He is one of the very few politicians we have who genuinely enjoys art galleries, concerts and the theatre. As you admire the DNA creation situated in Trafalgar Square, take the opportunity to marvel anew at the Gift Horse, the skeletal sculpture which displays a live feed from the London Stock Exchange, also in Trafalgar Square. This was chosen by our Mayor for the Fourth Plinth.