Genome from a bottle

Back Story: Cracking the code

In order to identify organisms with the made-from-scratch genome, researchers at the Venter Institute put four unique DNA sequences into the blueprint to serve as “watermarks.” For fun, the team figured out a way to encode all the letters of the alphabet (along with necessary punctuation) using the A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s that make up DNA. This feat allowed the team to include secret words and phrases, which you can try to decipher yourself.

  Included in the watermarks:

1. The key to the alphanumeric code.

2. The names of members of the research team, including J. Craig Venter.

3. A quote from James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.”

4. A website address where those who have solved the code can go to gloat.

Hint: In the same way that three genetic letters in DNA code for an amino acid, three genetic letters code for each alphabet letter. That’s not necessarily true for punctuation, though.

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