in cooperation with
the International Centre for Molecular & Cell Biology in Warsaw
Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Poznan, KNOW RNA Consortium
Poznan Supercomputer and Networking Centre
based on the recent research on RNA molecules, and their specific
characteristics, questioning tools (scientific and cultural) we have to
apprehend processes on levels of reality inaccessible to our senses, and how the
knowledge about molecular processes
may influence our understanding of ourselves and the world we create.
is an artistic experiment bridging individual and cultural imagination, scientific knowledge and technological innovation to create an interactive immersive environment to exploring complexity of human nature, and our past aand future identity.
RNA (ribonucleic acid) is a unique chemical molecule that can function in living organisms in various different ways. It can be a storage and messenger of genetic information that passes the information from DNA to proteins. In fact the RNA molecular machinery called ribosomal RNA is responsible for protein biosynthesis in every living cell. In addition, many RNA molecules can catalyze chemical reactions like proteins or perform a plethora of regulatory roles that are the key to the metabolism of the cells and are absolutely essential for life at the molecular level 1.
RNA today is considered to be the best candidate for the “seed of life”, which predated the emergence of contemporary cellular life forms . We can now imagine a living world without DNA and without proteins, but we cannot imagine one without RNA. Indeed, the research on the evolution of life at molecular level has used the comparative analyses of rRNA molecules, which are present in absolutely all organisms living on Earth. Thus, new representations of the Tree of Life, based e.g., on rRNA sequences, have already replaced old imageries. The Greek concept developed in the Middle Ages as scala naturae and later adopted by Charles Darwin, loses its linear character of an evolutionary ladder for the sake of increasingly complicated topology of possible life forms, a big Web of Life we are part of.
While the chemical structure of RNA resembles DNA, it rarely forms long double stranded helices but complex spatial shapes that may have different functions in cells. Working with various molecules of RNA, many of which are parts of very ancient biochemical mechanisms, is like working with basic signs of the language of life. The improved understanding of the structural message encoded in RNA sequences, and the resulting ability to write words and sentences in the RNA alphabet is likely to be appealing not only for specialists but the society in general.
Whereas DNA is often associated with stability, determinism and preprogramed future, RNA just opposite stands for instability, diversity, transformation and various potentialities
Though research on RNA has become one of the most intensively evolving areas of study in contemporary biology, its presence in culture and public consciousness is almost nonexistent. Therefore, one of the major goals of the project is to use the synergy between sciences and arts to raise awareness about the significance of RNA for life processes for better understanding our biological reality, its past and future.