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Weekend orgy

June 12, 2006

It was a pretty quiet weekend here in the Lidstrom Lab … aside from all of the triparental mating going on. Heh heh heh. I love the term “triparental mating” because it sounds like some sort of weird, morally questionable reproductive behavior. (In fact, it once inspired me to write a fake scientific manuscript.) However, the boring truth about triparental mating is that it’s a standard microbiology technique for transferring a plasmid (a circle of DNA, essentially) from one strain of bacteria to another. In addition to the plasmid donor and the plasmid recipient, a helper strain is often used to facilitate the transfer, bringing the total number of “parents” to three.

So that’s what I was doing on Saturday — putting three strains of bacteria on an agar plate and letting them go at it. Then on Sunday, I killed off two of the parents. Ah, the vagaries of being a microbe…. One minute you’re at a cool party where everyone is freely exchanging their genetic material, and then before you know it you’re being thrown in the autoclave.

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