Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sure, But Which Gene Helps Her Remember Everyone's Birthday?

Last week it was announced that, for the first time, the full genome of a woman had been sequenced:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-05/nofs-lss052708.php

The lucky gal was Dr. Marjolein Kriek, a clinical geneticist at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, where the study was undertaken. This was not only the first sequence of a woman, but also the first of a European.

The sequencing had taken six months, reading over 22 billion base pairs (the "letters" of DNA for you non-science types out there), but had been run in-between other experiments. If it had been run straight through, it would have taken only 10 weeks. Typical. Once again women get second billing! Go on, you female lab rats! Throw down your test tubes and burn your bras! I'll only gawk a little.

The first human sequence, as you may remember, was completed in 2001 using the combined DNA of several people. The next was that of Jim Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix structure. "Gene hunter" Craig Ventor was next. The final two were of Yoruba African men (I didn't know about those two, but now I'm curious).

In the words of the principal scientist of the study (as quoted in the article), "So it was time, after sequencing four males, to balance the genders a bit”. He smiles: “And after Watson we also felt that it was okay to do Kriek”.

Get it? Watson and Crick? Discoverers of the structure of DNA? Ha ha! Ha. ha. (sigh). Scientist humor….

Now that they have sequenced the X chromosomes of a female, the researchers say they are better able to study X chromosome variability.

That's well and good. But what I'd really like to know is which genes control that desire and ability of women to schedule everything. Or to coordinate their blouse with teal pumps. Or how to have a conversation on their tiny cell phone while simultaneously wiping a child's runny nose, stopping another child from climbing the bookcase, and writing up a report for their high-pressure career.

Yeah, that's right you sexy Dutch chicks, I've got your number (or at least the number of base pairs), and I've got a little Jean Gnome for you to "sequence". Giggity giggity.


Image altered from HERE.

9 comments:

simplethymes said...

haha, that joke's awesome. I love jokes like that, and I always say: "Get it?" in the end. My bf can only laugh and shake his head.

Rhea Miller said...

Hahahahaha...work it lab rat!!

But, honestly...you should prolly refer your questions about the inner workings of women to a cootie catcher rather than to our X chromosome. tee hee hee...no worries ladies...stereotypes can be fun.

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