Biochemist Holds NYC Auction for Stunning Photography of DNA

The limited series was commissioned to raise money for a new, revolutionary research laboratory

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(Photo: Autism Speaks)

Last night at the headquarters of Betaworks—that’s the company that brings us whimsical Internet experiments like Poncho the weather cat and Giphy—biochemist and photographer Linden Gledhill held court with techies, collectors and researchers to display his series of photographs

Mr. Gledhill created a collection of high res photos and time lapse videos from 10,000 separate samples of DNA. None of the photos were edited for coloration. They’re all natural—simply shine the right kind of light through a drop of synthesized DNA onto a slide, and the unique patterns will light up like a prism.

The auction raised money for the MSSNG project, a collaboration between Google and the Autism Speaks foundation that will offer an open database of genomes from autistic people—not unlike the way Google funded a project to hijack a dead satellite and crowdsource the data for broad experimentation.

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The slightest change in the temperature of the room or the thickness of the slide can cause a dramatic change in the way the DNA crystalizes. (Photo: Autism Speaks)

Each of the images looks like a strikingly different compound, but (forgive the cheesiness) each of them has a snowflakes’s individuality, divergent around the same theme: a little DNA, and a little bit of solvent.

“We’re exploring the darkness and the unknown,” Mr. Gledhill told the Observer at Betaworks after the opening ceremony. “Everyone’s beautiful and unique, and we can reveal the missing pieces as the light comes through.”

Check out the video for the MSSNG project below—it has stellar time-lapse video of the DNA crystalizing:

Biochemist Holds NYC Auction for Stunning Photography of DNA