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From father to daughter

A child grows up in the lab, and now shows the world what she's learned

Graciela Flores
Seen from a distance, the four slim, curvy shapes look like dancers wrapping their slinky limbs around poles that project from the water at McNeil Park in Queens, New York City. The figures are still, but appear ready to sway to gentle music. Or so it seems. A closer inspection reveals that the "pole-dancers" are, in fact, gigantic steel representations of nucleic acids, caught in the process of RNA transcription.
An eight foot tall DNA molecule stands right beside a sister double helix, which appears to be unwinding at the bidding of an invisible transcriptase. To the sides, two equally tall mRNAs, the product of transcription, frame the scene. Together, the sculptures comprise the playful "Transcriptease," the latest project (it debuted July 1) of Brooklyn-based artist Mara Haseltine. That's right - Haseltine. She is the daughter of well-known biologist William A. Haseltine. Bringing sophisticated science to her...

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