March 8, 2010

Cambridge Science Festival, 8th-21st March 2010

Cambridge Science Festival, 8-21 March 2010Madder than the Mad March Hare, more entertaining and surreal than Alice down-a-rabbit-hole in Wonderland: today marks the start of this years Cambridge Science festival:

“Delve into the diversity of science at the Cambridge Science Festival 2010! All aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be available to visitors of all ages at more than 150 mostly free events over two weeks. This year is the International Year of Biodiversity and the Festival is celebrating this by inviting you to learn more about the colourful creatures on the land and beneath the waves at the many events on offer in University departments and museums.

This year, a Schools Zone has been added into the programme of events, where pupils from local schools will be showcasing their work with interactive exhibits at the University Centre on the 20th March.

Also look out for scientists from the BBSRC in the Grafton Centre during the Festival, who will be on hand to answer your tricky science questions. Watch out for video and audio coverage before and during the Festival on the Guardian website.”

A team of scientists and engineers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and The EBI will be participating, on Saturday 13th March with a session on DNA, diversity and you and also tackling the thorny issue of Who Owns Science? on Friday 19th March. So if you’re in or near Cambridge over the next couple of weeks, come and say hello, and check out the  details in the full programme.

May 15, 2009

Y.M.C.A. – Just a little bit of G.T.C.A.

OK, look I know that by posting the latest viral marketing video from Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. I’m just a pawn (or vector) in their advertising game. This particular video has been around for a couple of months now but it is probably poor internet hygiene to spread these pandemic viral videos. I should just catch it, kill it and bin it. However, I can’t resist this one any longer because, like the last one, it is pretty kitsch, pretty funny and in a strange way, it might just increase the public awareness of Science. Maybe.

And it’s Friday today too, so to the tune of Y.M.C.A. by the Village People, you are now infected with just a little bit of (altogether now…) G.T.C.A.!

The lyrics go a little something like this: (more…)

March 18, 2008

Genomes to Systems 2008: Day One

Filed under: sysbio — Duncan Hull @ 9:27 am
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Genomes to Systems is a biannual conference held in Manchester covering the latest post-genome developments. Here are some brief and incomplete notes on some of the speakers and topics from day one of the 2008 conference. (more…)

January 22, 2007

DNA mania

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