Eat my Words – Molecular Poetry

body of water wave

The building blocks of proteins are amino acids.
The building blocks of steaks are words.

There are 20+1 (standard) amino acids plus a few that do not occur regularly in protein synthesis. That’s two or three more – depending on how you read it: together: the alphabet of proteins.

The amino acids are classically designated in a three-letter code (e.g., alanine=Ala). For abbreviation there is a one-character code (e.g. alanine=A).

The Latin alphabet has 21 letters
The German and the English alphabet have 26 letters

Amino acids can be mapped into an alphabet – and vice versa: an alphabet can be mapped into amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

Proteins are produced by chaining amino acids together.

The order in the chain is controlled by DNA.

DNA consists of molecules containing a defining nucleic base (adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine; often abbreviated A, T, G, and C). GATTACA, anyone?

Massive and complex DNA synthesis is possible (1).

Translation of DNA into proteins on an industrial scale is possible (2).

Protein production with different cells and vector systems is possible.

Prediction of the tertiary structure of proteins by new data processing (AI) is possible.

So I can take any text in its alphabet in natural language.

I can develop a translation table.
I can translate the text into a sequence of amino acids.
I can back-translate the amino acid sequence into a DNA sequence.
I can produce the DNA sequence of the text in a biological production system (e.g., E. Coli or hamster ovarian cells (you name it you get it) large scale forward.


A tofu-like block of billions of copies of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, or The Sorrows of Young Werther. And could compare flavors. Shakespeare will taste different from Goethe if only because of the different composition of the alphabet soup, maybe even different from Byron.

Beyond Meat: Today I’ll take the Shakespeare, medium. My wife would like to have your excellent Weimar salad with Schiller curls.

I further receive (bonus):

Images. New software for predicting the folding of proteins (tertiary structure) makes drawing easier.

There are many lyrical texts about proteins and biochemistry. I have not found the approach presented here otherwise. But the idea is actually obvious. Even though it seems unlikely to me: but it appears to be new. If someone came up with the idea earlier: Congratulations! Live And Prosper. I sincerely ask for a hint. So that I can add to this post.

Christian Bök has worked with texts and DNA in E.coli (Xenotext: Book 1).

you may be interested in:

(1) DNA Synthese

J. William Efcavitch, PhD, Molecular Assemblies and Stefan Lutz, PhD, Codexis, Inc. DNA-Synthesis: approaches, Advances and Applications

S, Kosuri, G. M. Church: Large-scale de novo DNA synthesis: technologies and applications. Nature Methods 2014. 11; 499-507

(2) Protein-Synthese

G. Bhattacharyya et. al. Large scale production of synthetic spider silk proteins in Escherichia coli. Protein Expr Purif. 2021 Jul;183:105839. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2021.105839. Epub 2021 Mar 18. PMID: 33746079.