DNA segment unwound in order to be read
Our illustration at right, “Gene Regulated Transcription,” appeared in last year’s Medical Illustration SourceBook. Briefly, the illustration shows an unwound segment of DNA made available for use as a blueprint to create, e.g., cell membranes, enzymes, hormones, etc.
I loved the illustration but wasn’t keen on submitting it to the SourceBook– the science behind the illustration is complicated, complex, and far-removed from our everyday experiences.
Now there is a book by Pulitzer Prize winning science reporter / author, Amy Ellis Nutt, that connects the world of genes and DNA to people in the world around us. Becoming Nicole is the true story of two identical twin boys who had obvious differences in gender identification from an early age. Identical twins with identical DNA, but variation in genetic blueprint reading resulted in twins that are no longer identical.
*Lewis Carroll from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Curved DNA strand with base pairs between “rails” in the foreground.
In our business, we often work with scientists, researchers, and technical experts. As a non-scientist, I am in continually in awe of the discoveries and efforts to make the world a better place to live, e.g., last week’s announcement by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work in mapping cell repair of damaged DNA on a molecular level.
2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Press Release:
“The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 is awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments.”
Our workday starts like it does for many people, a quick meeting over coffee to discuss what we’re working on today, what needs to be done next. The rest of the day, Don and I typically work alone. Not action-packed, but what is needed to get technical projects right.
Last week was different. We attended a large international trade show. It was fantastic to be out of the office for a few days–seeing people we knew, meeting others we didn’t, learning something from everyone.
Visiting booths, listening to company reps, reading product literature, talking to other attendees was both exhausting and energizing. We have a better understanding of current industry trends and the changing landscape for scientific / biotech companies: more technical content, increasing international presence, efforts to widen market reach to more diverse audiences. We’ll try to incorporate last week’s experiences as we’re back working on projects.