Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Disclaimer: I am not a poet

I had to write a short explanation of my research (to be put on the lab's website), and in the process of figuring out how to explain it concisely, I, in a fit of conceit, proclaimed that it would be just as easy to write it as a sonnet. My father suggested a Haiku. So here is the published (drabble: 100 words) version, a haiku veresion, and a sonnet version. I know the Haiku doesn't get into specifics, and the sonnet has some dodgy rhymes and phrasing, but they were written rather quickly.


I am interested in the epigenetic regulation of placental development, in particular the role of DNA methylation. The epigenetic profile of the placenta appears to be more flexible and dynamic than the embryo proper, as evidenced by significantly lower levels of total DNA methylation and striking loss of imprinting at many loci in extraembryonic tissues. However, knockouts or inhibition of the DNA-methylating enzymes (DNMTs) result in malformation of the placenta. I am examining the role of DNMTs in the placenta with tissue-specific knockdowns, and using high throughput sequencing techniques to clarify the extent of loss of imprinting in the placenta.
How cells interpret genomes
And environment
Though strictly controll'ed in embryo
The genome seems more flexible outside
And where development will progress slow
Environment must always be denied

Those marks which seem to regulation tied
Are rarer far in afterbirth than son;
And in placenta both alleles transcribed
Which fetus sees the choice of only one.

And yet those tissues with controls undone
In both the embryo and extra part
Are compromised and stunted every one
So necessary the controlling mark

I study why this freed placenta fails
And what its flexibility entails.

1 comment:

ayn said...

Sonnet = AWESOME

You need to submit that somewhere. I don't know what the right venue would be, but I bet there are other people out there who appreciate both genetics and Shakespeare. =D