James and the Giant Corn Rotating Header Image

February 4th, 2010:

Thanks Brassica oleracea

My claim to 15 seconds of fame?

If you see a guy holding this stalk of brussels sprouts reciting the definition of qPCR in a promotional video from Agilent, it just might be me. (How many biologists carrying telegenic vegetables are they likely to find on campus? 😉 )

Edit: For the record, qPCR is a technique used to estimate the relative proportions of different DNA sequences in a sample. Perhaps most commonly, this is used to measure how strongly different genes are expressed. (Isolate RNA from a tissue, reverse transcribe it into DNA and measure how abundant your the sequence of your favorite gene is in the same.) When a plant needs more of a protein (say one that helps defend against fungal infection), it will produce more RNA copies of that gene’s sequence, each of which can be used over and over as a blueprint for ribosomes to make more copies of that particular protein. The acronym itself stands for quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.Which isn’t the most coherent explanation of a molecular biological technique I’ve ever written, but it has been a long day.

A Reminder: National Lab Mustache Day

… is coming up a week from tomorrow (Friday, February 12th). It’s been two and a half years since I last sported a mustache, but I recently found out about this holiday and it’s too awesome not to bring back the ‘stache. (Temporarily of course)

For more on National Lab Mustache Day, check out … the NLMD blog.

All sorts of bad hair choices on display here. Not that some people can't pull off the mustache, I'm just not one of them. 😉