The yellow (and red, blue and green) brick road

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My fellow Cambridge-London commuters; did you work it out? Once you know that it depicts a gene, it’s annoyingly obvious. But despite travelling past it by train about three days per week, I failed to identify the thousands of brightly coloured bars painted on the cycle path next to the rail track near Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s hospital as a nucleotide sequence. It should have been a clue that only four colours are used.

It probably comes from generally not being very biochemistry minded, as a straight-physics editor. Nevertheless, a friend of mine mentioned he had heard about the biology-inspired cycle path artwork and after some quick Googling, the rumour was confirmed; the colourful sequence stands for the BRCA2 gene, implicated in breast cancer and discovered in 1995.

What a good idea to combine scientific topics with railway scenery. After five years of commuting I would welcome more of these puzzles along the rail track to keep me entertained!


Liesbeth Venema (Senior Editor, Nature)

Go to the profile of Stu Cantrill

Stu Cantrill

Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry, Springer Nature

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