James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

November 6, 2009

It is Done

Filed under: biology,research stories — Tags: , , — James @ 4:21 pm

NSF fellowship application complete and submitted with just under an hour and a half to spare before the deadline. More inside. I think I managed to exceed the safe dosage of caffeine recommended by the makers of Monster Energy Drinks between three of those in 24 hours, something called an “organic energy shot”, my normal energy mints, and some cold coffee I pillaged from a nearby conference from dispenser after some other lab meeting ended. It was also amazingly hard to give up the social web for even the less than 24 hour ban I imposed on myself as the deadline approached. First I had to not only quit my twitter client, rss feed reader, e-mail client, and Firefox but remove them from my laptop’s toolbar I’d become so used to opening and checking them all constantly. Then I had to put my iPhone into airplane mode so it wouldn’t buzz every time I got an e-mail or give me another avenue for checking twitter, facebook, and my blog stats. And even so I relapsed more than once when I had to open a web browser to check one thing or another.

That said I’m really happy with my application this year. That doesn’t mean I think I’ll get funded, but at least I’m sending in my best work. In the lingo of high school sports coaches, I left everything on the field. No half measures. No wishing I’d just tried a little harder.

Assuming I don’t sleep for the whole weeked, I’ve got some interesting things planned. A post on just what genetically engineered crops really are on the market, and what traits they’ve been engineered for (The anti-GMO movements strawberry-fish hybrids aren’t coming to a store near you), and I also want to talk a bit about what it means to publish a genome and why some are way better for the kind of research I do than others. I am also going write up a summary of the conclusions we came to about corn’s public relations issue’s on yesterdays posts, people pointed a lot of good ideas I’d missed.

While I’ve been worrying about my application, ya’ll managed to set daily daily and weekly records yesterday (and the week still have three days, counting today left!). Though some logic about number of readers/# of linked blogs that makes now a suitable time to add Pie-ence to the list of James recommended blogs. The author is a Canadian grad student studying botany at UBC. Be sure to check out his review of Tomorrow’s Table (the book that came before the blog, and needs to get all the publicity we can mange), and this write up of a paper on whole genome duplications in plants which I actually cited (the paper not the blog post) in my NSF proposal today ending a moment of panic about not being able to find a good estimate of the age of the pre-grass tetraploidy. I owe you one Greg!


  1. Woot! Congrats. It’s a necessary part of the process.

    I recommend a plant-based ethanol-laden beverage. I was just about to have a cognac myself….

    Comment by Mary — November 6, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  2. Thank you! I took your advice along with a bunch of the other plant people who submitted yesterday, and a good time was had by all.

    Comment by James — November 7, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

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