Apr 25

DNA day

DNA tartan
by Artist Jim Pattison
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Double Helix
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National DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA, with its distinctive double helix.  

And in late breaking news, a new DNA structure within living human cells has been detected that looks more like a four-stranded knot called the i-motif.

Today, using the results of genetic analysis, you too can have a tartan designed from your own genetic information.

In 2015 Scottish artist, Jim Pattison, an honorary research fellow at the University of Dundee, created his own tartan using information he found about his ancestry from DNA results he obtained using a common test kit from the United States.


Pattison used the complex data from American company 23andMe after noticing the similarity between the colour strips method of recording tartans and the strip notation used to describe genetic markers that can identify individuals or animal species.   He extended this work into a art installation called Tartan Sticks and Pattern Setts at the An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides in July 2015.

Picking up on this interesting idea, and in conjunction with the genetic testing by 23andme, there is a now a way to  translate your own easily obtained genetic markers into unique graphics and textiles, including tartan.  Click the DNA tartan for more on Pattison's art exhibition or on the double helix for more information about creating your own DNA-based tartan.

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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9 out of 10 kilt wearers agree - this is almost as thrilling as a good

tartaned kilt flip when going regimental! 

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