January 22, 2007

DNA mania

Filed under: bio — Duncan Hull @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,

What does DNA do when it’s not being transcribed into RNA? It causes DNA mania…

Quote of the Day

“DNA, you know, is Midas’ gold. Everyone who touches it goes mad.”

Maurice Wilkins

Read the rest in [1,2]

Do you or your colleagues ever suffer from DNA mania [3,4]? A biochemist friend of mine once semi-jokingly remarked that people’s manic obsession with DNA is a bit like buying some food and being more interested in the bar-code on the packaging, than the food inside. In his particular area of research, DNA is about as exciting as bar-codes, because it doesn’t even leave the nucleus of the cell, at least in Eukaryotes. I wonder what readers of nodalpoint think of this analogy? Anyway, as a result of this philosophy, most of his community have developed an unhealthy and manic interest in proteins rather than DNA. You could call this particular obsessive-compulsive disorder “protein mania”.

Depending on the scientific obsession(s) of your particular community, you might need to substitute Protein or RNA for DNA in the above quote, as appropriate. And if that is all too molecular for you, substitute any other of your favourite bioinformatics buzzwords.


  1. Horace Freeland Judson (1996) The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology
  2. John Sulston (2006) Won for All: How the Drosophila Genome was sequenced: a book by Michael Ashburner
  3. André Pichot (1999) Histoire de la notion de gène (one of the first documented uses of the phrase “DNA mania”)
  4. Denis Noble (2006) The Music of Life: Biology Beyond the Genome (an antidote to DNA mania and the Dawkinian gene-centric view of Life)
  5. DNA Photograph taken by Unapersona in Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Calatrava building, Valencia, Spain.

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