N1 still disgruntled over Brenner’s choice (Cambridge UK). Disproving the popular maxim that time heals all wounds, N1 made clear in a statement today that it is every bit as annoyed about not becoming the “chosen strain” as it was nearly 50 years ago. “Bristol had nothing on me then and it’s got nothing on me now,” said the visibly petulant Caenorhabditis elegans isolate obtained from Sidney Brenner’s backyard. “Mushroom compost? Give me a break,” added the derisive strain, referring to the humble origins of N2. According to N1, “It was totally political from the very beginning. These things always are. Anyway, it’s not like I really wanted to be prodded, mutagenized, starved, bleached and ultimately autoclaved by a bunch of sadistic scientists,” the transparently begrudging nematode added. “So the joke’s on you, N2. Hope you’ve enjoyed the last 50 years, because you’ve got a lot more of the same coming.”

Project dies peaceful death surrounded by loved ones (University of Davis, CA).  Following a prolonged, uphill and often painful battle, NIH proposal GM052937 is finally at rest according to sources close to the proposal. Whereas the termination of the project came as something of a shock to its long-term collaborators, those closest to the revised R01 had expressed serious concerns in the months leading up to its death. “The signs were all there,” said one of the postdocs intimately familiar with the well-being of the project. “Insufficient preliminary data, a delay in publications, and a lack of connectivity to the aims. It was clear enough if you just looked.” The proposal’s brave but futile struggle was accompanied by emotions typical of end-of-project scenarios including a denial of experimental flaws, anger at reviewers and funding agencies, bargaining with editors, depression of summer salaries, and ultimately acceptance into a journal of significantly lower impact than was expected. Still, in all endings new beginnings may find their genesis. “It’s hard to know what lies beyond the mythical ‘great wall’,” stated one of the lead investigators after learning of the project’s demise. “Perhaps there’s nothing whatsoever. But maybe the Hindus have it right, and reincarnation awaits all things that pass.” As of press time, the project’s PIs were rumored to be heavily favoring the “theory of rebirth” in the form of an R21.

Worm theologians ponder meaning of ‘Pick of Fate’ (Petri dish). Ancient mythological narratives within the C. elegans community have long included fanciful tales of shining objects that descend from the sky, arbitrarily removing “chosen members” of the population. “Though it’s considered an ill omen to speak of, the Pick Gods must be appeased once in every generation,” proclaimed one worm elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Although reasons for the apparent sacrifices continue to elude the nematode clerics, it has been noted that virgin L4s appear to “please the giant gleaming spade” above all others. Some survivors of the choosing ceremony have reported approaching a bright light or flame. Still others claim that it is a form of alien abduction in which individuals are subjected to painful gonadal probing by a giant clear needle. Such survivors have described recovering consciousness on a completely different plate while smeared from nose to tail in a kind of viscous oily substance, possibly of an inter-dimensional or protoplasmic nature. Conspiracy theorists within the worm community have gone so far as to suggest that these individuals may have been “implanted” with a “seed of foreign origin”, although this theory remains controversial. Nevertheless, universal agreement behind the meaning of  “Shovel Selection” is likely to remain unresolved. Stated one wizened post-gravid hermaphrodite, “We can only hope that a divine and loving intelligence is controlling the pick and that it does not merely represent the whims of some dispassionate cosmic manipulator.”