Thursday, 12 January 2012

By on January 12th, 2012 in biology, writing

08:00 – I finished the lab session on cell-division yesterday and sent it off to my editors. I told Barbara last night that it’s fortunate I work at home alone, or I’d probably have been locked up in a rubber room long ago. Yesterday, I was writing and just started laughing for no reason that would have been apparent to a bystander. Most people wouldn’t find meiosis all that funny.

I’d written about mitosis and decided I’d better include at least an overview of meiosis, a life process with a similar name and similar mechanisms. The difference is that mitosis operating on a diploid cell produces genetically-identical diploid daughter cells, while meiosis produces genetically-unique haploid cells, i.e., gametes. The process by which meiosis produces this genetic uniqueness is called homologous recombination, during which homologous pairs of chromosomes exchange some of their genes.

So, as I was sitting there writing about meiosis, I thought about that immortal phrase that by itself shows the pitiably parlous state of science reporting. A year or so ago, a CBS news story actually used the phrase “homologous recombinaltion tiniker”. (Well, technically a phrase is a group of words, and only one of those three groups of letters is actually a word.) So, for a moment, I actually considered including a graphic titled “Homologous Recombinaltion Tiniker” to illustrate that gene shuffling. That’s when I started to laugh.

3 Comments and discussion on "Thursday, 12 January 2012"

  1. OFD says:


    And filed.

  2. OFD says:

    Also noted: while trying to refresh about an hour ago, I got an ‘unable to connect to database’ type error here. And my other sites were all still connected OK.

  3. Miles_Teg says:

    Same thing happened to me. My guess is that a Hobbit with glass stuck in its feet got cranky and messed up the server.

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