Prints on accordion-bound rice paper
A Book of Mine, of which the 900-page Volume X is one part, presents my entire genome in base pairs. Volume X contains the bases of my X chromosome. The DNA was sampled and sequenced in December 2018, and the reads were mapped to the Human X chromosome reference sequence UCSC hs38. The bases covered by my sequencing are annotated in black, and those uncovered in grey.
I relate to DNA and astrology similarly, through a desire to seek answers about my self. And yet these questions might never be answered. When making the book, I could only do 16 pages at a time: printing the sequence on 120 feet of paper, folding it 8 times, connecting the pages with glue, and then repeating. I touched each letter and searched for what is so unique and ordinary about me.
The folding—the walks back and forth along the long lengths of paper, tapping and brushing—became a late-night dance in my studio.
DNA was sampled by buccal swab with a sterile cotton tip applicator and stored on dry ice/-80 until prepped using the Qiagen DNeasy Blood and Tissue kit. A sequencing library was prepped using the Nextera DNA library prep kit and cleaned up using house-made AMPure-equivalent Serapure beads to a final average library size of ~350bp as indicated by gel. DNA was sequenced on the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform using a Mid-output 150 cycle kit with 2x84bp paired end reads, generating 130,139,348 reads passing filter. Reads were mapped to the UCSC hs38 X chromosome sequence using BowTie2, and variants were called using SAMtools/BCFtools. Bedtools was used to generate a coverage mask, and a custom python script then combined the reference chromosome, the coverage mask, and the variant file to generate the final text. Covered bases, defined as a very liberal 1x coverage depth (i.e. a single read) were annotated as black, and uncovered bases as grey. Variants with a quality <20 were not included. Heterozygous sites are shown in format [N…N/N…N]. Data was outputted as a .html file in 10megabase chunks, with per-base (or per-variant, in the case of variants) inline styling block specifying the text color, and converted to PDF format for printing using the wkhtmltopdf tool.
Collaborator: Ross McBee, Columbia University Department of Systems Biology
Photo: Haocheng Wang, Katherine Ryals