Patrick Taylor

Me as text

Expressed alphanumerically I am 664,429 lines of text and probably so are you. Digitally, I add up to 17,539 kilobytes (about 17.5Mb). I know this because someone bought me a DNA test. You spit in a tube then off to an ancestry website. When the results are ready, just download the text file. 50 lines of this text is below. Those 50 lines don't make me unique but the whole 17.5 megabytes does. I imagine those letters and numbers might be my hair colour or how long before before it falls out, or maybe the way I behave in specific situations. I have no idea, but whatever it is, my parents gave it to me one night, perhaps in Italy or somewhere equally romantic.


The text file is not romantic. It's a list of instructions to nature, like every other living thing: make this. At present it can't be used to make another identical me, but it will be some time. The file might be worth saving somewhere in case my actual DNA doesn't exist any more. One thing to bear in mind is that the next me would look exactly like the first with at least some of the same behaviours, even the same long-gone parents, but that's as far as it goes. It would not be me.

Genome raw data

The raw data is made up of four chemical 'DNA bases': adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Humans have 3.2 billion bases which the raw data just expresses in the form of numbers and letters. The bases pair up with each other as 'basepairs'. Each line below corresponds to an SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) – the places in the genome where people differ. All the lines put together are referred to as the 'genome' for the individual. This is just text, remember.

In the lines below, column 1 is the SNP identifier, columns 2 and 3 are the chromosome and basepair position, columns 4 and 5 are the two alletes 'observed' at the SNP. To understand this, you need to be a scientist. If you are not a scientist, perhaps it's enough to know that nearly every cell in your body has the same DNA – the hereditary material with the unique instructions to make exactly you.

DNA itself is not text but an actual material called deoxyribonucleic acid and which exists in the nucleus of every cell (genes are small sections of DNA and what people usually talk about in human reproduction). DNA fact sheet »

50 lines of my text:

rs587777048
rs587777049
rs2065688
rs2152019
rs141415065
rs17683682
rs2368274
rs77552996
rs184829476
rs7897553
rs879253744
rs11006776
rs201213030
rs2297646
rs11006778
rs771920114
rs587777199
rs868755574
rs145742175
rs7074562
rs11596934
rs12218330
rs769346541
rs9334541
rs12779067
rs12415087
rs7915784
rs7095042
rs1419365
rs12573136
rs10763636
rs7906846
rs12257232
rs2490059
rs2249120
rs80223245
rs7920436
rs2253165
rs12245062
rs17757654
rs2252206
rs7903206
rs2255018
rs11006830
rs7919895
rs1781837
rs11006840
rs4749301
rs11006853
rs2997211

10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10
10

28151450
28151487
28153711
28156285
28158400
28173266
28193276
28196246
28201745
28201966
28223938
28224563
28225688
28225897
28228037
28228909
28229506
28229509
28233225
28238836
28245890
28260543
28270473
28270612
28270909
28271283
28286740
28296673
28297248
28303355
28314473
28314957
28317101
28319692
28326775
28335115
28336696
28337017
28337570
28339252
28347988
28349473
28349623
28356087
28358659
28359713
28361900
28373644
28378613
28378758

I
G
T
T
G
G
G
T
G
C
C
A
C
T
A
C
C
G
C
T
A
A
I
T
A
A
G
T
C
A
T
C
G
A
A
A
T
A
T
A
A
C
T
T
C
A
A
T
G
T

I
G
C
C
G
G
G
C
G
C
C
A
C
G
A
C
C
G
C
T
A
A
I
C
A
A
G
T
C
A
C
C
G
G
G
G
C
G
T
A
G
C
C
T
C
G
A
T
G
C

664,379 lines not shown

It wouldn't be hard for someone to get the whole of my genetic code, or for that matter that of anyone else they come into contact with. It just takes a tiny saliva sample then sending it off to an ancestry website and pretend it's theirs.

Humans are 99.9 percent the same, text-wise, so the text on this page might be the same as you. It may also be the same as a chimpanzee, because they are less than one percent different to humans, or in other words, more than 99 percent human. Say "thanks" to chimpanzees by the way. The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus vector.

More about genetic code and DNA at yourgenome.org »

Snippets »

Page last modified: 26 November, 2020

Comments

No comments so far.

Leave a comment