Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bio 101

I have decided to give the blogosphere a bit of insight into what it is I do all day now that I am employed.

Step, if you will, inside the shoes of a Biologist. Make sure you have labcoat, gloves and safety glasses at the ready. The safety glasses are there to protect you from the lab llamas. Llamas make great scientists. But they spit like a bitch. True story. 

I generally work with DNA from various things. I am sure you all know that DNA looks like this:

Only not so colourful. And we don't see it like that with the naked eye, it is far too small. And contrary to popular belief (BFG thought this) DNA is not like an organ ferreted away somewhere behind the liver. You have the full set of all your genes in every single cell of your body. With me so far?

Now I do various things with DNA (wrap it around my head, tie climbers knots in it, that sort of thing) and invariably I need to see if what I was doing worked. So I visualise the DNA like this:

Yup, the DNA is those little white strips. Beeeautiful huh? You have no idea how happy those little white strips make me. Little white strips mean "good day". Unless they are in the wrong place. They sometimes appear where they shouldn't be. Bad strips.

On a " very bad day" I might see something like this instead:


Baaaaaaaad. Then I have to explain to my boss why there are no little white strips. How the fuck am I supposed to know? You bastards, where are you? Burning in DNA HELL I hope.

I am aware that by using Paint, or some similar program, I could fabricate a black background and a few white strips. But that would be naughty. I swear to you, my job is not sitting in front of the computer all day, drawing little white strips on black backgrounds. Those white lines really are DNA.

Cool stuff, right? I can see you all queueing for miles to switch jobs and become a biolo-cyst.

Oh I forgot to add: I use highly toxic chemicals all day long. The kind that can cause you to mutate into flourescent green seamonkeys with extra toes. I just thought I would add that in as an extra bonus.

AND just to clinch the deal. You get paid badly.

Little white strip, anyone?


momcat said...

And the white lab coats are sooo sexy!!

6000 said...

@ momcat: They certainly do. And I often wear one with nothing underneath (terms and conditions apply)

Ah - so DeEnAy science, huh? And, pray tell, where are you getting our DeEnAy from?

P.S. Ethidium bromide is my choice of tipple after a hard week.
P.P.S. Of course it's poorly paid - it's science.

Louisa said...

Do you at least get to torch stuff on the side with bunden brurners or something? :-|

Tamara said...

Wonder if that's where the White Stripes got their name from. I somehow doubt it.

Hope you're having a good DNA double-helix day. That sounded cool, didn't it? I thought so.

Dash said...

you haven't accidentally unleashed a thousand prehistoric creatures on a small island in the caribbean have you? cos that would be crazy!

incidentally, if you have, can I have a baby little raptor?

Kitty Cat said...

Wow, that's fascinating. What I want to know is, what do you do when you get the little white strips? What is the end purpose of what you do? Are you a pharmaceutical lab? A test lab? It sounds fascinating. Is that how you turned yourself into a sea monkey?

Moe Wanchuk said...

Is there any biological way to make my "Peeper" bigger?


Being Brazen said...

your job intrigues me...I know i could never ever do something like that - and I am in awe of the fact that you can :)

Rox said...

Waaaay back in the very late 90's I had a job as a Lab Assistant at a Pathology lab. I had to do crappy clerical work, and I had to put the slides through all the various (and probably also toxic) chemicals.

It was kinda fun, but got old very quickly.

Still, I did used to enjoy getting to check out the slides under the microscopes sometimes when the technicians were feeling kind enough to let me have a peek.

LadyFi said...

Cool post! Do you get to wear those blue (or white) plastic bags on your shoes too? And a shower net on your hair?

Toxic chemicals - no wonder you're high all day long!

po said...

momcat: indeed. But the glasses thake the cake

6000: now that would be telling, wouldnt it. At the moment, from THE plant, you know, the mousey famous one. You know. Before that various extremophile bacteria from volcanos.

P.S. mine too. I drink it daily. I call it my seamonkey juice. The only way to be a seamonkey!

P.P.S I feel why there has to be a necessary or sufficient link between the two.

po said...

louisa: haha yes, usually people end up torching their own eyebrows though. I once set fire to a bearker full of ethanol. I was mesmerised by how pretty it was for ages before I realised I should put it out.

Tamara: very impressive! why thank you.

Dash: no, only seamonkeys. You want a flouresecent green seamonkey?

po said...

kitty cat: SOmetimes I am just checking the DNA , at the moment we are checking to see if certain genes are mutated or not. But all sorts of stuff really. And yes you are so right, that is how I became a seamonkey! You should be a scientist too!

moe: no dude, check in you mail spam box for that.

BB: why? I thought that too and actually I still think it. But I am not a proper scientist, just a lab (sea) monkey that does stuff for other people. And surprisingly anyone could do it.

Rox: ooh what did you see?

Ladyfi:no I am not working with a virus or anything dangerous. Arent you thinking of food factories? A labcoat suffices.

I am high from all the 100% ethanol lying about the place :)

Rox said...

Pretty but nasty cells, sometimes cancerous and other times normal. Was interesting, I'm easily amazed by science and the universe.