Our Epigenetics animations are now online in Begin Before Birth‘s series of Youtube Videos.
The animations help explain the concept of Epigenetics, whereby chemical markers on DNA can switch genes on and off – and these markers can be inherited. Environmental pressures on a parent can lead to adaptation in the child.
This week, Science magazine have a special edition on Synthetic Biology, in which they: “explore the breadth of this field and how the construction of new biological systems might be harnessed to serve humanity”.
And they feature our illustration on the cover! This is where art, science and Lego combine…. Synthetic biology is a field close to our heart, and we’ve previously worked on a range of illustrations and animations.
Windfall Films is one of the leading producers of science & technology programmes, and their science documentaries consistently breathe life into potentially dry subjects.
They hired us to produce a series of animations to help explain the concept of Epigenetics, whereby chemical markers on DNA can switch genes on and off – and these markers can be inherited. Environmental pressures on a parent can lead to adaptation in the child. So it’s not just about which genes a child inherits – their traits can be dictated by which of those genes are activated or suppressed.
Enough science, bring on the pretty stuff…
Clip 1) Clip showing genes in a DNA section switching on an off;
Clip 2) The concept of the Epigenome – chemical markers on the backbone of the DNA which control the expression/suppression of genes;
Clip 3) This sequence shows DNA coiling around support structures called histones, which then further coil into a compact superstructure (eventually the DNA will be would up still further into chromosomes). The structure is “scanned” which represents the reading of the DNA. “Histone deacetylation” causes the structure to compact tighter, making some of the DNA inaccessible, and leading to read failures (i.e. non-expression of that gene).
Clip 4) Methylation is shown here, whereby a carbon with three hydrogens (methyl group) attaches to specific points on the DNA backbone, and this chemical marker prevents that section of the DNA being read.
Clip 5) Another scanning analogy, showing the methylation of the histone/DNA structure, and the subsequent read failures.
This month, Science magazine publishes its annual feature on science and engineering visualisation, which is a fiercely competitive and prestigious arena for the world’s science communicators.
Scientists, illustrators, computer game companies, TV companies and new media producers compete to showcase their work and raise the bar for communication of science and engineering concepts for the purposes of public engagement and education.
We are delighted to announce that we have been selected for an honourable mention in the illustration category, for our illustration of a Bacteriophage doing what it does best: attacking a bacterium!
The image was produced in around a week, including some modelling, texturing, lighting, rigging, composition, and retouching work, producing the above image at 7500 x 4500 pixels.
Our reference material (of real bacteriophages – we’re not making this stuff up!)
We’ve updated our showreel on the main page to reflect our best work, with lots of new material from the past 6 months or so – we hope you enjoy it! Featuring clips from Science, Windfall, Bloodhound SSC, Nature Protocols, Teachers TV, ESA, Astrium, Space IGT, IMechE, Bluesci, Science Photo Library and others.
We were commissioned to produce a series of animations to help explore the abstract world of synthetic biology, allowing the concepts of designing and programming bacteria to perform a particular task, in this case creating a colour change when exposed to a parasite – brilliant for testing water sources in remote locations, with a clear visual result.
For information on the documentary itself, please contact Kelly Neaves at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve updated our showreel on the main page to reflect our best work we’ve done over the past 6 months or so – we hope you enjoy it! New clips from ESA, Astrium, Teachers TV, Space IGS, and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.