13 de novembro de 2016

Listening to proteins by turning data into music

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Molecular melodies can reveal information about proteins in technique developed by composer and chemical biologist

Scientists can now gain new insights into how proteins work by listening to them. A music professor and a chemical biology researcher have developed a technique to transform data about the structure of proteins into melodies. Their study, just published in the journal Heliyon, shows how musical sounds can help scientists analyze data using their ears instead of their eyes.

The researchers believe their technique could help scientists identify anomalies in proteins more easily.

Proteins are molecules found in living things that have many different functions. Scientists usually study them visually and using data; with modern microscopy it is possible to directly see the structure of some proteins.

Using a technique called sonification, the researchers can now transform data about proteins into musical sounds, or melodies. They wanted to use this approach to ask three related questions:
  • What can protein data sound like?
  • Are there analytical benefits?
  • Can we hear particular elements or anomalies in the data?