Lego DNA double helix on its side

Lego DNA Double Helix

Human Body

Let’s break down the human genome as the worlds largest and most complicated Lego set….

The Human Genome consists of an estimated 20,000 genes (small Lego models).  Your genes form one of 23 pairs of chromosomes (large Lego models).  DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) consists of a set of instructions to building a gene (your Lego instruction booklet), using 4 nitrogenous bases adenine, thyminecytosine, and guanine (Lego bricks), wrapped up in a double helix of phosphate (more Lego bricks).

How many bricks would I therefore need?  It is estimated that the human genome has over 3.2 billion base pairs and thus, including the parts for double helix phosphate, you would need at least 10 billion Lego bricks in order to replicate build the human genome…

It’s clear I won’t be constructing the human genome out of Lego any time soon! However I was able to design and build a small portion of a DNA double helix…

Lego DNA Double Helix

DNA Key

Green = Adenine (A)    Red = Thymine (T)

Blue = Cytosine (C)     Yellow = Guanine (G)

White = Sugar Phosphate

The DNA Double Helix was one of my easier builds to date.  Stood upon a tiled base plate, I repeated a pattern of 1 x 2 bricks, 1 x 1 cylinders and 1 x 2 bricks and gently twisted them to form the helix.  I then connected 10 1 x 1 cylinder bricks together to form a base pair, connecting them with a pin.  The only complexity was the fragility of the design, requiring some additional struts which were added whilst building the model.

Hope you enjoy my Lego DNA Double Helix… and don’t find too many flaws in my quick maths (I am sure some smart ass will!).  Whilst I am not a biologist, I do work within the healthcare industry as an IT professional so I do have an interest in science and the human body. I might look to make a series of health/ human body inspired models if I am able to find the time.  Have a good idea – let me know!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all,

Mark

3 thoughts on “Lego DNA Double Helix

  1. This work really overwhelmed me with emotion. I did my PhD at Oxford in genetics and molecular biology in 1992, focusing on DNA sequencing and two-dimensional chromatography. Research and effort in these areas has advanced so much since James Watson discovered the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick so I love any art that reminds us of that great achievement…especially one that combines my two loves, DNA and Lego!

    Please make more!

  2. Hi! I am a graduate student. I am interested in building a similar model. Do you have a studio file or parts list?

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