Human Genome Poster, 2010-04

In 2010 I heard a NPR story where a person was making posters of people’s DNA. This piqued my interest. I did a cursory search and was unable to find the story or the website where I could purchase the posters. But then I thought about it a little and decided I’d make the poster for myself using the Human Genome Project DNA files. It took a bit of work, and I had to learn a little Ruby, but at the end I created a 1′ x 3′ human genome poster which sits in my room.

Human Genome Poster, Methodology:

I downloaded the human genome project chromosome files. I then wrote a Ruby program which used the Imagemagick plugin to write one image for each chromosome. Each base, G,C,A,T is represented by a different color pixel. This was difficult because the files produced were huge! They ranged in size from 9 – 86 MB for each PNG file.

I then resized each chromosome to a much smaller size which would fit on my poster. This was effectively zooming out until the chromosome fit on my poster. Then I combined them all together into the final product. To make it look nice, I picked different palettes for GCAT for each chromosome. If I hadn’t done this every chromosome would look to be the same color since we are zoomed out so far away.

See the Human Genome Poster below (which is not full size):

Human Genome Poster

Human Genome Poster


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