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Gene Cultures — MIT Museum Exhibit

Scale and structure of the human genome

1 · The MIT museum reopens

The MIT Museum reopens at its new location on 2nd October 2022.

My art appears in the new Gene Cultures exhibit.

2 · Gene Cultures Exhibit

As the pace of technological advances in the field of genetic discovery quickens, questions arise.

Who decides how and when transformative new biotechnologies will be used? What questions do we need to ask before making decisions leading to irrevocable results?

Join the conversation as you explore dramatic breakthroughs in genetic technologies and engage with artworks — wiitty, provocative, absurd, and profound — that prompt us to consider our future — now.

The Gene Cultures exhibit is Located in the Henri A. Termeer Gallery

Text by MIT museum

3 · My art at the genome exibit

Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The plaque explaining the projection that shows the scale of structures in the human genome.

To find my exhibit, look for the pink chicken. You can't miss it.

Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The animated projection is on a large wall at the entrance to the exhibit. Right next to the pink chicken. (photo Martin Krzywinski)
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The animated projection is on a large wall at the entrance to the exhibit. Right next to the pink chicken. (photo Anna Olivella)

3.1 · Animation sequence

Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The opening sequence cycles through the layers to be explained.
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The genome is big. We count up to 3,088,269,832 bases, which is the total length of chromosomes 1–22,X,Y in the hg38 human genome assembly.
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The contents of the genome are grouped into chromosomes.
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
The bands reflect density of chromatin packing.
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
About 20,000 genes represent the key functional components.
Gene Cultures exhibit at the MIT Museum - Martin Krzywinski / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Genes (and the proteins that the encode) are key targets for therapies.

The size and position of elements in the animation is based on the hg38 assembly, which is (as of 2022) the canonical reference.

The very latest human genome assembly (CHM13v2 telomere-to-telomere) has 3,117,275,501 bases.

4 · Credits

concept and art direction
Exhibit developer (Life Sciences)
concept & design
Martin Krzywinski
Staff Scientist
Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre
creative lead
Kim Gim
motion designer
Devon Burgoyne
designer
An Bui
content strategist
Ksenia Dynkin
Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer is an international leader in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics for precision medicine. By developing and deploying cutting-edge genome sequencing, computational and analytical technology, we are creating novel strategies to prevent and diagnose cancers and other diseases, uncovering new therapeutic targets and helping the world realize the social and economic benefits of genome science.
We are the Canadian node of the Earth Biogenome Project.
news + thoughts

Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring

Mon 21-11-2022

If you sit on the sofa for your entire life, you’re running a higher risk of getting heart disease and cancer. —Alex Honnold, American rock climber

In a follow-up to our Survival analysis — time-to-event data and censoring article, we look at how regression can be used to account for additional risk factors in survival analysis.

We explore accelerated failure time regression (AFTR) and the Cox Proportional Hazards model (Cox PH).

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. (read)

Dey, T., Lipsitz, S.R., Cooper, Z., Trinh, Q., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2022) Points of significance: Regression modeling of time-to-event data with censoring. Nature Methods 19.

Music video for Max Cooper's Ascent

Tue 25-10-2022

My 5-dimensional animation sets the visual stage for Max Cooper's Ascent from the album Unspoken Words. I have previously collaborated with Max on telling a story about infinity for his Yearning for the Infinite album.

I provide a walkthrough the video, describe the animation system I created to generate the frames, and show you all the keyframes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Frame 4897 from the music video of Max Cooper's Asent.

The video recently premiered on YouTube.

Renders of the full scene are available as NFTs.

Gene Cultures exhibit — art at the MIT Museum

Tue 25-10-2022

I am more than my genome and my genome is more than me.

The MIT Museum reopened at its new location on 2nd October 2022. The new Gene Cultures exhibit featured my visualization of the human genome, which walks through the size and organization of the genome and some of the important structures.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My art at the MIT Museum Gene Cultures exhibit tells shows the scale and structure of the human genome. Pay no attention to the pink chicken.

Annals of Oncology cover

Wed 14-09-2022

My cover design on the 1 September 2022 Annals of Oncology issue shows 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers. Each case shows the number and type of actionable genomic alterations that were detected and the length of therapies that resulted from the analysis.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
An organic arrangement of 570 individual cases of difficult-to-treat cancers showing genomic changes and therapies. Apperas on Annals of Oncology cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022).

Pleasance E et al. Whole-genome and transcriptome analysis enhances precision cancer treatment options (2022) Annals of Oncology 33:939–949.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
My Annals of Oncology 570 cancer cohort cover (volume 33, issue 9, 1 September 2022). (more)

Browse my gallery of cover designs.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
A catalogue of my journal and magazine cover designs. (more)

Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring

Fri 05-08-2022

Love's the only engine of survival. —L. Cohen

We begin a series on survival analysis in the context of its two key complications: skew (which calls for the use of probability distributions, such as the Weibull, that can accomodate skew) and censoring (required because we almost always fail to observe the event in question for all subjects).

We discuss right, left and interval censoring and how mishandling censoring can lead to bias and loss of sensitivity in tests that probe for differences in survival times.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski mkweb.bcgsc.ca
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring. (read)

Dey, T., Lipsitz, S.R., Cooper, Z., Trinh, Q., Krzywinski, M & Altman, N. (2022) Points of significance: Survival analysis—time-to-event data and censoring. Nature Methods 19:906–908.


© 1999–2022 Martin Krzywinski | contact | Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences CentreBC Cancer Research CenterBC CancerPHSA