July 7, 2021

Would YOU want to live in Alan Turing’s house?

The blue plaque on Alan Turing’s house, commemorating his work in cryptography which founded both Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence as new disciplines. Picture by Joseph Birr-Pixton on Wikimedia Commons w.wiki/3aYW

The house where Computer Scientist Alan Turing spent his final years is currently up for sale. The estate agent describes the property on 43 Adlington Road, Wilmslow as a Victorian family residence of significant historical importance. Wilmslow and the surrounding Cheshire countryside is popular with Manchester commuters, including many Man United, Man City & England football stars. Even if you could afford its premier league price tag, would YOU want to live in the house where Turing’s life ended so tragically? 

Turing was found dead at this house, on the 8th June 1954 by his cleaner. The cause of his death the previous day was established as cyanide poisoning. He was just 41 years old. When his body was discovered, an apple lay half-eaten by his bedside. 

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.

At the end of his life Turing was suffering mentally and physically. The homophobic British authorities were using a form of legalised torture, known as forced chemical castration, to punish him for being homosexual. At the time, homosexuality was a crime. Turing put on a brave face and joked about his castration (“I’m growing breasts!), but it must have been horrible to endure.

If you’re feeling suicidal or tortured, you don’t have to struggle with difficult feelings alone. If you’re suffering from emotional distress or struggling to cope a Samaritan can face your problems with you. Whatever you’re going through, samaritans.org are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They respond to around 10,000 calls for help every day. No judgement. No pressure. Call them free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

While everyone can have a good old nosey at Turing’s house through the estate agents window, no-one needs to suffer like its famous former resident did. Personally I think I’d find this property an enigmatically haunted house to live in, knowing that this was the place where a great man’s life ended in such tragedy. How about you?

Turing’s House: Copper Folly, 43 Adlington Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 2BJ

  1. Rightmove details www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/109329428
  2. Savills.com details in a single pdf file bit.ly/alan-turings-house
  3. Turing’s house in Google maps goo.gl/maps/krMM3A2JfgTUVFfm8
  4. GCSE computing: Alan Turing: Creator of modern computing bbc.co.uk/teach/alan-turing-creator-of-modern-computing/zhwp7nb
  5. Alan Turing’s Manchester by Jonathan Swinton describes what it was like to make new friends and lovers in the smog-bound, bombed-out city of Manchester from 1948 to 1954 manturing.net
  6. Leslie Ann Goldberg, Simon Schaffer and Andrew Hodges discuss Turing’s ideas and life with Melvyn Bragg https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000ncmw
  7. Breast enlargement in men undergoing chemical castration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gynecomastia


Thanks to Alan O’Donohoe for spotting Turing’s house on the market and to Joseph Birr-Pixton for publishing his picture of Turing’s blue plaque on Wikimedia Commons.

April 8, 2010

8-OHdG: Entity of the Month

DNA Origami by Alex BatemanChemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) release 67 is now available, containing 548,850 total entities, of which 20,565 are annotated entities and 720 were submitted via the ChEBI submission tool. New in this release, the ChEBI ontology is now available in the Web Ontology Language (OWL), which is part of an ongoing research project to automate the classification of small molecules in ChEBI. If you’re using this data, we’d like to hear from you! This month’s entity of the month is 8-OHdG. Text below reproduced from ChEBI website:

8-Hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG, ChEBI:40304) is an important molecule in oxidative stress used as a biomarker of many processes involving reactive oxygen species. Also known as 8-oxo-dG (this abbreviation derived from its tautomeric name 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine) and as HMDB03333 in the Human Metabolome Database [1], it has been used especially as a sensitive marker of the DNA damage caused by hydroxyl radical attack at C-8 of guanine. This damage, if left unrepaired, has been proposed to contribute to mutagenicity and cancer promotion [2]. This use of 8-OHdG as a biomarker for DNA damage extends over a wide range of scenarios [3,4,5,6], because it is one of the major products of DNA oxidation.

More recent work by Junko Fujihara and his colleagues at Shimane University in Japan has demonstrated how 8-OHdG can be used as a possible marker for arsenic poisoning, since antiquity a method of dispatch frequent in homicide and suicide cases [7]. Fujihara’s study however focuses principally on the use of arsenic in medicine, and specifically in demonstrating a relationship between concentrations of 8-OHdG and various arsenic compounds in the urine of a patient with acute promyelocytic leukaemia being treated with arsenic trioxide. Their conclusions that 8-OHdG in urine can be used therapeutically as a key biomarker for arsenic compounds may also find application in the diagnosis of arsenic poisoning when arising from the consumption of seafood such as fish, shrimp, oysters and seaweeds, organisms known to contain appreciable amounts of arsenic compounds.

[Picture of Alex Bateman‘s DNA origami in action from The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.]


  1. Wishart, D., Knox, C., Guo, A., Eisner, R., Young, N., Gautam, B., Hau, D., Psychogios, N., Dong, E., Bouatra, S., Mandal, R., Sinelnikov, I., Xia, J., Jia, L., Cruz, J., Lim, E., Sobsey, C., Shrivastava, S., Huang, P., Liu, P., Fang, L., Peng, J., Fradette, R., Cheng, D., Tzur, D., Clements, M., Lewis, A., De Souza, A., Zuniga, A., Dawe, M., Xiong, Y., Clive, D., Greiner, R., Nazyrova, A., Shaykhutdinov, R., Li, L., Vogel, H., & Forsythe, I. (2009). HMDB: a knowledgebase for the human metabolome Nucleic Acids Research, 37 (Database) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn810
  2. Kuchino, Y., Mori, F., Kasai, H., Inoue, H., Iwai, S., Miura, K., Ohtsuka, E., & Nishimura, S. (1987). Misreading of DNA templates containing 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine at the modified base and at adjacent residues Nature, 327 (6117), 77-79 DOI: 10.1038/327077a0
  3. Wu LL, Chiou CC, Chang PY, & Wu JT (2004). Urinary 8-OHdG: a marker of oxidative stress to DNA and a risk factor for cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetics. Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry, 339 (1-2), 1-9 PMID: 14687888
  4. Schriner, S. (2005). Extension of Murine Life Span by Overexpression of Catalase Targeted to Mitochondria Science, 308 (5730), 1909-1911 DOI: 10.1126/science.1106653
  5. Sumida S, Doi T, Sakurai M, Yoshioka Y, & Okamura K (1997). Effect of a single bout of exercise and beta-carotene supplementation on the urinary excretion of 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine in humans. Free radical research, 27 (6), 607-18 PMID: 9455696
  6. Tarng DC, Huang TP, Wei YH, Liu TY, Chen HW, Wen Chen T, & Yang WC (2000). 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine of leukocyte DNA as a marker of oxidative stress in chronic hemodialysis patients. American journal of kidney diseases : the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation, 36 (5), 934-44 PMID: 11054349
  7. Fujihara, J., Agusa, T., Tanaka, J., Fujii, Y., Moritani, T., Hasegawa, M., Iwata, H., Tanabe, S., & Takeshita, H. (2009). 8-Hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as a possible marker of arsenic poisoning: a clinical case study on the relationship between concentrations of 8-OHdG and each arsenic compound in urine of an acute promyelocytic leukemia patient being treated with a Forensic Toxicology, 27 (1), 41-44 DOI: 10.1007/s11419-008-0062-x

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