Sue Broom cracks the code in this subtle game of scientific one upmanship. Kakapo, Cleopatra and Pavarotti are cryptic names for genes; the clue to what they do lies in their names. Chardonay, Hedgehog and Cheap Dates all have one thing in common. They are all names for genes, specifically of fruit fly or drosophilia genes. The trick is you have to guess what it is, so for example Amontillado is a allusion to the Edgar Allan Poe book where the hero is walled in alive; the gene amontillado refers to mutant larvae who can’t hatch. More seriously, worm, mice and human geneticists think they should tone down their gene names. But Kathy and her colleagues are resisting; it is part of their tradition, they say. A witty, whimsical or colloquial name can get a scientist lot of attention in the scientific community. Sue Broom looks at some of the more famous examples and charts the resistance to turning Van Gogh into a chain of numbers and letters.
What do we know about our genes? How can this knowledge be used to inform genetic engineering and gene therapies? What difference has the ENCODE project made to our understanding of our genes? Explore with Dr Ewan Birney the intriguing world of genes to discover the importance of the sequence of letters that makes up our genome.
Written in Code — Genes – what are they good for? Absolutely… something. But not everything. Your “genius” genes need to be turned on – and your environment determines that. Find out how to unleash your inner-Einstein, and what scientists learned from studying the famous physicist’s brain. Also, the bizarre notion that your children inherit not just your genes, but also the consequences of your habits – smoking, stress, diet, and other behaviors that turn the genes on. Plus Francis Collins on affordable personal genomes, and a man who decoded his own DNA in under a week.
Part 2: Naming And Branding On this episode I discuss a little about the importance of choosing a name and the branding around it. I mention Aaron Mahnke from Wet Frog Studios, check them…