Visualizing Family | Dynamic DNA
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Visualizing Family

Visualizing Family
There are many different ways to depict family. Whether it be the traditional family portrait or the ubiquitous stick figure families that reside on the back of so many vehicles, people like to visualize their household. I am no exception to this, but was seeking a fresh approach and had no desire to be immortalized as a cartoon dad standing by the grill next to the family dog. I wanted something that could start a conversation. I wanted a piece that could display our interconnectedness, while preserving our individualities. As anyone with children will know, it is amazing to see yourself and your spouse in your children, but it is far more incredible to see them as their own selves.
I found what I was looking for by combining my love for family with my love for science. Using a series of common techniques in the molecular biology laboratory, I was able to visualize my family at the very basis of our relatedness, our DNA. The result was a stunning piece of art that depicted my wife, our two children, and myself in a “portrait” unlike any other.
The aptly named “DNA Portrait” was created by targeting specific areas of human DNA that are highly variable among individuals. Then, billions and billions of copies of these areas are made and separated from one another in a gel-like substance. When photographed, the resulting image is an actual picture of your DNA. Given that no two people (excluding twins…) have the same sequence of DNA, each person’s DNA Portrait will produce a unique pattern.
For me, the real fun begins when comparing my portrait alongside my wife and children. It is easy to see what fragments of DNA are shared between all of us, what fragments my children received from me, and what fragments they received from my wife. There are even fragments of DNA that are made from genes that help regulate key human emotions, such as love and memory. My family’s art was printed on a 40”x60” gallery-wrapped canvas displayed above the couch in our living room. Here it serves as a beautiful and insightful glimpse into the biology of my family.
If you are interested in creating your own DNA Portrait please give us a call at (417) 319-1047 or email to get started!