- “Why isn’t my CRISPR working?”
- “If my needle clogs one…more…time…”
- “I’m only three trainee lineages away from Brenner.”
- “I don’t get why this cross isn’t working. Maybe I need to put on some mood music like Barry White.”
- “I went on a date last night and I told him I spent 3 exciting hours in a dark room with lasers. He asked me if it was a cool rave.”
- “Ugh, no cookies at seminar? I feel tricked.”
- “I have a lucky pick. I only bring it out for those really hard crosses. I do a silent prayer to the Genetics Gods right before I pick F2s.”
- “So I posted on the WormBase forum and I didn’t get roasted…”
- “I emailed the author asking for help with a protocol in her paper. She replied back and sent me a 20 page Word file. The original method in her paper was only 5 sentences.”
- “Do you think the worms know they’re in an all-you-can-eat buffet of bacteria?”
- “I’m so so sad I didn’t get a selfie with Mello.”
- “Yeah I bought the C. elegans giant microbe. Its name is Unc-ie.”
- “Is it sad that I look forward to In-N-Out more than socializing at the LA worm meeting?”
- “Pass the EtOH. No, I meant the gin, not the 70% EtOH.”
- “I really hope I get to go to Madison this year, pitchers at the Memorial Union are the best.”
- “Why is it that during poster sessions there’s alcohol but only water during talks?”
- “I’m sorry, did you just say free beer?”
Web searches conducted by male lab members reveal new postdoctoral candidate to be attractive, possibly single. (Boston, MA). An Internet search encompassing laboratory websites, Facebook accounts, and an intramural volleyball team webpage has revealed Andrea Brooks, a soon-to-be-interviewed postdoctoral candidate, as attractive and possibly unattached. The thorough study was conducted by a team of male postdocs and graduate students within the lab in an effort to “properly vet” the candidate prior to her upcoming interview, sources reported. Although poor annotation of group lab pictures led to some initial uncertainty regarding the identity of the candidate, additional research unambiguously identified Brooks (third from left) as a statuesque brunette with shoulder-length straight hair. Although social media sites indicate Brooks to be single, the presence of an athletic male seated next to Brooks at a lab function and behind Brooks in a Beta-Blockers team picture has led to some speculation that Brooks may be attached. Although any discussion regarding the potential for future romantic involvement with the candidate was carefully avoided by lab members, third-year postdoc Kevin Pollicott stated that while he could see good reasons to keep work and personal life separate, “Sometimes you just have to let things happen”. “Obviously, it would be different if she was an undergraduate,” stated Pollicott emphatically, “unless she was like super mature or something”. Notably, Brooks’ pending interview has generated the highest level of personnel interest since 2012 when first-year graduate students Lisa Sundaram and Jennifer Chu simultaneously carried out rotations. Talks are also underway to start a lab volleyball team.
Nation’s PIs don’t know why your PCR didn’t work. (Bethesda, MD). In a press conference held on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, the Nation’s Principal Investigators (PIs) issued a joint statement to underscore that they have “no clue” why your PCR reactions didn’t work this time. “Really, we have no idea whatsoever – have you tried changing all your reagents, or at least the nucleotides?” added the Nation’s PIs. In addition, the Nation’s PIs emphasized that they will also be unlikely to provide any insight as to why your PCR reactions will undoubtedly fail in the future. “Have you BLAST’d your primers, run a positive control, or tried a gradient?” questioned the PIs. Private sources also indicated that the Nation’s PIs were additionally concerned that you failed to add all the reagents or possibly even used that old Taq in the back of the frost-free freezer that everyone knows is garbage. “What exactly do you want me to tell you?” questioned the Nation’s PIs rhetorically, “How am I supposed to have any inkling as to why you have a giant smear down the entire length of the gel? Did you even run any markers?” An under-the-breath muttered response from the Nation’s Graduate Students is expected to be issued in the near future, which may address the fact that the Nation’s PIs “don’t even know how to program the PCR machines in their own labs” and have to ask for help every time they decide to waste a couple microliters of Phusion on some half-baked experiment that will be “abandoned before the 21st cycle is even completed”.
Questions rejected by the CRISPR Panel at the 2015 International C. elegans Meeting.
Dear CRISPR Panel,
My wife and I attend regular potluck dinners with a number of couples that we’ve known for many years. We like everyone’s company and these are enjoyable social gatherings. The problem is that while my wife and I put a lot of effort into making creative and nutritious meals, some of the other couples think it’s OK to just bring leftovers or salad out of a bag. I don’t want to be a wet towel or to alienate other guests, but it seems as though everyone should be putting equal effort into the meals we are sharing. Should I say something?
Also, my CRISPR isn’t working.
Dear CRISPR Panel,
I am having trouble with the women in my lab crying every time CRISPR doesn’t work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
My Dear Beloved:
I know this message will come as surprise but it is great honorific that from displaced murdered royal family I ask assistance in this the transfer of US$2.4M from Bank in Cotonou Benin Republic West Africa.
Please I will offer your trustworthy person 20% of total sum and ask that you reply urgently so that I may return to my medical studies.
Awaiting your generous reply and also having trouble with CRISPR, especially the incorporation of large inserts.
Your Faithful Servant,
While slaving away hard at the bench, we have serendipitously discovered a new mutation that has increased repeatability and significance of any assay we have performed. This mutation significantly reduces the level of experimental error so intensely that we can actually report standard deviation instead of standard error of the mean. P-values are minuscule and our graphs have more stars than ever (Figure 1). In addition, putting our strains in this background has allowed us to perform extremely beautiful Western blots, so beautiful that we do not need to use Photoshop to ‘robustify’ our figures (Figure 2).
As typical naming of genes follows the phenotype they induce, we believe we have identified a mutation affecting a new class of genes, hereby called robust, or rbst. Mutations affecting genes belonging to this class affect experimental performance and data reproducibility. Tim Schedl has yet to reply to our request to be formally assigned this new class of genes, but we are confident that Jonathan Hodgkin would approve. We have mapped this mutation, win1, to either the left arm of LG III or LG IV. The graduate student currently performing the mapping studies is ironically failing to achieve a robust confirmation.
In conclusion, we report identification of a new allele, rbst-1(win1) III?; IV? which makes all results significantly more robust and will be sure to get your papers accepted without revisions. Stay tuned for more updates on our robust progress. No, we are not sharing our magical strain just yet, but if you would like to form a robust collaboration with us to pursue further robust experiments, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing your robust ideas. Thanks to Steve Hodgkinson for critical reading and verbal abuse regarding this data. Thanks to BC-V for technical advice and moral support. Thanks to Chib, raela and dunnp for robust shenanigans.
Slam-Dunk Grant Fails to Write Itself (Minneapolis, MN). In spite of widespread projections, R01 proposal GM088686-A1 has, “for reasons that defy all logic”, failed to write itself, according to sources close to the proposal. Moreover, the competitive renewal, which is reputed to strike the perfect balance between mildly risky high-payoff studies and guaranteed publishable units, has yet to commit a single sentence to paper. “How this set of perfectly meshed yet entirely non-interdependent aims could fail to auto-compose onto a hard drive is nearly inconceivable”, stated one of grant’s lead investigators. That the six-point bulleted Significance section, which segues seamlessly into the Innovation component, has so completely fallen short of crafting itself, was also unanticipated. “Admittedly, we thought we might have to help out with entering some Endnote references or maybe take up some slack on the budget section”, stated a co-PI close to the project, “but the response to previous criticisms should have literally fallen out of the sky and onto the page given that every experiment since the initial submission has completely put reviewer’s concerns to rest.” Regardless of the revised proposal’s failure to meet expectations, scientists associated with the grant remain optimistic that the “eight high-impact papers” generated during the previous funding period are more than likely to “submit themselves” to top journals within the next few months.
Genes within long-standing operon calling it quits (X chromosome). At a joint press conference held on the campus of Caltech, genes within the C. elegans lin-15 operon recently announced their decision to split due to “creative differences”. Despite co-existing for at least 50-100 million years, the individual genes known as lin-15a and lin-15b indicated their mutual desire to move on in a prepared statement. “We’ve done our thing together and we don’t think we have anything to prove”, affirmed the genes, which have been sharing regulatory elements prior to the separation of C. elegans and C. briggsae. According to sources close to the locus, having nearly identical names has been a long-standing source of irritation to the tandem genes, which share virtually no identity at the peptide level. “It’s already bad enough to be part of the “lin” group”, said lin-15a, “but having the same number followed by a letter is just total bullshit”. “It’s not like our discoverer was George Foreman or something”, lin-15b added. Despite their intention to separate “a minimum of 5-10 map units apart or even to different chromosomes”, the functionally interconnected genes plan to continue their long-standing collaboration on processes such as vulval induction while freeing their expression domains to pursue other developmental projects. Although details on the custody of 5′ regulatory elements and the 3′ UTR have not yet been disclosed, geneticists familiar with the process are expecting a protracted battle.
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.”