Since the advent of direct-to-consumer personal genome tests like 23andMe, it’s simpler than ever to access information about your individual DNA sequence — that 0.1% of genetic coding that distinguishes you from the rest of humanity. But deciding what you do with this information can still be a complicated process. You could use this data to track down your birth parents, or to discover you’re descended from ancient royalty, or to find out if you’re prone to various diseases. Or, you could go the more fun route of London-based company Dot One and visualize this data as unique, arty patterns on scarves, posters, and family trees.
Named for the 0.1 percent of genetic code that’s unique to an individual, Dot One visualizes customers’ personal genomes as colorful, glitchy designs, then prints them on various products. Led by designer Iona Inglesby, the company offers an artistic interpretation of complex information that can be hard to conceptualize, let alone visualize.
When you send Dot One a DNA test kit, consisting of a simple cheek swab saliva sample collection, they outsource it to the genetic testing lab AlphaBioLabs. The lab techs there scan the sample for bits of genetic code called Short Tandem Repeats, or STRs. These vary from person to person, and collecting enough of them lets a scientist create an unique genetic fingerprint. Once Dot One receives this fingerprint, made up of 23 STRs, they assign a numerical value to every STR, based on its molecular structure. Inglesby then matches these numbers to individual colors, and from there, creates a pattern that reflects your genome.
These geometric patterns resemble what DNA samples like when run through gel in a lab during profiling. Each pattern is utterly unique, but many recall neon op-art weavings, or the gridded compositions of Piet Mondrian or Bridget Riley.