Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/05/26
I’ve often been asked, and been unable to answer, how and when the “HIV genome” was deciphered; what “the” genome is, given that we’re told that the pest mutates so rapidly that there are innumerable strains, varieties, and hybrids; what portion of “the genome” is used for measuring viral load. Now, it seems, all those questions can be answered by listening to music whose notes represent the individual nucleotides of “the” complete “HIV” genome as decoded in 2009: What does HIV sound like?
“. . . HIV is an ugly virus in terms of human health. . . . But a new album manages to locate some sonic beauty deep in its genome. Sounds of HIV (Azica Records) by composer Alexandra Pajak explores the patterns of the virus’s nucleotides as well as the amino acids transcribed by HIV, playing through these biologic signatures in 17 tracks. . . . Pajak took as her basic formula the National Institutes of Health’s record of the retrovirus’ genome and the thousands of coded letters which get transcribed by an enzyme into DNA in a cell once it’s infected. . . . She became curious about the HIV genome, especially when its complete structure was sequenced to single-nucleotide resolution in 2009“.