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Scientists upset over apparent error in DNA emoji

An upcoming emoji update includes several science-related icons, including a backwards strand of DNA.

The science community says that Emojipedia’s upcoming release of new doodles includes a strand of DNA that twists in the wrong direction. As it currently stands, the DNA molecule twists to the left — which represents the far less common double helix called Z-DNA. The most well-known image of a strand of DNA should curve to the right to represent B-DNA, the structure responsible for the origin of all life on earth.

The difference is similar to a spiral staircase, according to Science Alert. One that turns in a clockwise direction is our well-known stand of DNA and one that curves to the opposite direction is Z-DNA. It’s an error that’s likely imperceptible to most of us but scientists have taken to social media to alert the masses.

This draft of what the DNA emoji might look like is not final, however. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and other platforms each create their own emojis — which accounts for the slight differences and variations sometimes found between them. So there’s still hope that a designer for one of the tech companies will right this egregious wrong.

Google alters burger emoji, with cheese atop the patty

The DNA emoji will be joined by 157 others, including a lab coat, test tube, petri dish and microbe, sometime this fall.


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