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Timothy Ferris

“I placed some of the DNA on the ends of my fingers and rubbed them together. The stuff was sticky. It began to dissolve on my skin. 'It's melting -- like cotton candy.'
'Sure. That's the sugar in the DNA,' Smith said.
'Would it taste sweet?'
'No. DNA is an acid, and it's got salts in it. Actually, I've never tasted it.'
Later, I got some dried calf DNA. I placed a bit of the fluff on my tongue. It melted into a gluey ooze that stuck to the roof of my mouth in a blob. The blob felt slippery on my tongue, and the taste of pure DNA appeared. It had a soft taste, unsweet, rather bland, with a touch of acid and a hint of salt. Perhaps like the earth's primordial sea. It faded away.

Page 67, in Richard Preston's biographical essay on Craig Venter, "The Genome Warrior" (originally published in The New Yorker in 2000).


Timothy Ferris, The Best American Science Writing 2001
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The Best American Science Writing 2001 The Best American Science Writing 2001 by Timothy Ferris
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