Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Zen of Cloning

Ugh. Loooong week. Ive been trying to get that last construct (the uninfectious bastard from Tuesday). I make these guys by cloning—not the half man/half cow clones George W has nightmares about at night, but molecular cloning.

I cut and paste lots of bits of DNA together into a plasmid, pop the plasmid into some bacteria, and give the bacteria lots of food so they will cheerfully make billions of copies of my plasmid. Just when the bacteria are getting comfy in their warm soup… I blow them up and harvest their innards!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anyway, I cant get a good plasmid for that last construct. By *good* I mean one that doesnt have any weird random mutations, one that will make all the proteins I want when I put it in mammalian cells, one that actually makes infectious viruses, etc. But all of these procedures take forever, so I don’t know Ive got a bad one until Ive wasted three days. After ranting to my boss a bit yesterday—he said something very Zen:
“You are trying to make three pieces of DNA that might be 'bad' come together and make a 'good' construct. Why don’t you take parts from constructs you know are good and put them together? Use the good fragments to make a good whole.”

Of course, this is just common sense, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it—but it just sounded very Zen to me.


TJ said...

did he tag on a "silly girl" at the end? that's what i always do

Seabhag said...

I recently found your blog and have been quite cheerfully going through it and reading old posts (along with the occasional burst of insane laughter). But I thought when I read this title; shouldn't it have been "Zen, and the Art of Cloning"?

ERV said...

LOL Probably, but Im just as terrible at Buddhism as I am every other religion. Totally clueless :P