Worse yet, the very concept [of insurance based on genetics] threatens to undermine another of the greatest potential benefits of the genome: personalized medicine. The goal of personalized medicine is to tailor treatments to a the unique genetic defects that have helped foster a disease, be it diabetes or cancer. But, if insurers can deny coverage based on those same genetic traits, the patient may never see the treatment.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This story is interesting not because of the excitement of corporate deals and stock market fluctuations, but because Sirtris Pharmaceuticals specializes in developing small molecule activators of SirT1. And anything involving SirT1 - my protein of interest - is inherently fascinating.
It's actually more interesting for other reasons. Previously on this blog, I've echoed a sentiment common in the skeptical blogosphere: There's no such thing as alternative medicine. Once a treatment has been shown to work, it becomes part of mainstream medicine. Resveratrol, a polyphenol, is a SirT1 activator. SirT1 (I told you it was interesting) has been shown to be involved in insulin signaling, energy metabolism and lifespan extension in model organisms. Other work has shown resveratrol to have cardioprotective and anti-cancer effects. Resveratrol has long been thought to be a molecule behind the 'drink red wine' wisdom.
This all sounds great. And 'alties' probably feel vindicated: Resveratrol has been on sale in health food and dietary supplement stores for ages. Before many of the studies mentioned above had been done, in fact. But don't go reaching for your wineskin just yet. Studies have also shown that oral resveratrol has poor bioavailability.
That's where Sirtris comes in. They develop compounds that are analogs of resveratrol to improve potency and bioavailability (and patentability), and test those compounds. And Big Pharma (GSK) has taken notice, decided this is viable science, and acquired Sirtris in the hopes of turning these compounds into diabetes, anti-obesity or anti-aging drugs. Like other examples we've discussed this is a case of a natural or alternative medicine becoming mainstream (or, rather, the beginning steps of that process).
The moral of the story isn't that natural products work. In this case it doesn't - all resveratrol supplements will give you is expensive urine. The point is that if the science is there, the medicine will come.
There's still a possibility that these compounds will fail for one reason or another. Perhaps they won't be effective in humans as in rodents. Maybe there will be toxicity issues. If this happens, no doubt that Big Pharma conspiracy theorists will jump up and down saying that GSK made the purchase to squash a promising natural medicine. An almost 1 billion dollar investment seems to be a bit much for such a petty goal. If I was the big, evil corporation, I'd sink that money into the supplement makers and keep it on the shelves. But shrewd companies know that a tested drug has more value than an untested one. The only reason not to get science onside is if you don't think it will support you.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
“Does coffee brewed from single-origin beans in a siphon or a Clover taste more yummy than, say, Folgers from a percolator? I believe it does. But it would be hubris to suggest that we’re making better coffee than anyone ever has. My feeling is, there are already enough places where you can get a cinnamon latte and a muffin wrapped in plastic. Why would I want to build another one of those?”
Supposedly this thing makes the greatest cup of coffee known to (wo)man. No less than Starbucks has bought the rights to similar technology (the mystical "Clover"). I'll admit, my curiosity has been aroused. But I'm sure as hell not going to pay that kind of cash for a taste (not to mention the plane ticket). So I fired up the YouTube and did a little commercial espionage (see video clip and watch the brewing process in action). Turns out these guys are a bunch of scientist wannabes! I figure it'd be pretty easy to rig one up with a bunsen burner, a couple of flasks, a Buchner funnel and a vacuum line. All easily found within your standard biomedical research lab...except for the Yo-Yo stunt man...
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Found on BoingBoing.
"Science painter Cornelia Hesse-Honegger collects and paints mutant bugs in the vicinity of irradiated wastelands like Chernorbyl, around nuclear plants, and nuclear refining sites."
Here is a link to the title page of this work.
Awesome paintings of messed up bugs. Too bad that's pretty much all it is, and claims that the observed mutant phenotype of the insects has something to do with radiation from nuclear power plants is probably just to attract some attention to the great artwork.
I love entomology and genetics so otherwise this would have been really cool with some statistics and some controls.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I hope that e-lab notebooks don't catch on, because they lose a lot of character when 'people are watching'. I remember doing in vivo recordings, sometimes for ~20 hours, in grad school. If the neurons were alive, I was recording. Things were pretty automated, so I would pass the time looking at the oscilloscope during stimulation trials while drinking Busch light. After about 10 beers one night, I finally realized what the neurons were doing and got a C/N/S paper out of it. I remember looking at my notes from that fateful night, scribbled with the drunken uncoordination that is only found on pub toilet walls: "THEY'RE FUCKING OSCILLATING!!!!" I wrote this about 10 times as I went back and looked at the sweeps from previous experiments that I had pasted into my notebook. Then, I perfused the animal, drank 2 more beers, had a smoke in our fume hood, and passed out. I was awoken by our TurboTech at 7 am.
I still have the notebook, complete with beer stains and coffee stains (and probably some drool). That's not something I'd be willing to live-blog, or even transfer onto the web, though. It could only be appreciated as a scratch-and-sniff YouTube video; or in my blurred memories of grad school.This great anecdote courtesy of TreeFish, commenting in response to a post by PhysioProf on the idea of open digital lab books ("Science 2.0 Open Access Lab Notebooks" Is Completely Absurd) over at DrugMonkey.
Posted by Bayman at 10:40 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
How did life evolve from one (I suspect) chromosome to... 64 in horses, or whatever organism you want to pick. How is it possible for a sexually reproducing population of organisms to change chromosome numbers over time?For the answer read this.
Friday, April 18, 2008
1- Michelle Kline at the University of California had to improvise a material to build microfluidics chambers when her funding dried out. She turned to Shrinky Dinks, and created a low cost alternative!
2- Ellie Wollman and François Jacob had to improvise a way to look at bacterial conjugation and to map the genome simply by measuring the time of transfer. But they needed a way to abruptly stop conjugation, so they use a blender to sever the pili and stop the transfer!
3-Hans Spemman was studying embryology in the 1930's and one of the questions of the time was if every cell has a deterministic fate from the first division on or if they acquire their fate later in embryo development. To divide a cell before it's first division Spemman used a baby hair (since they are sturdy yet very fine) to cleave the cell. In fact just by using this technique and tweezers he was even able to do nuclear transfers and kickstart the study of stem cells. Talk about being ahead of your time.
4-In one the labs I've worked in in the past, we use to cut corners and make our own DNA ladder and our own TAQ polymerase. But Orac takes it further and contemplates how to create your own electrophoresis box. And of course you can make your own DNA columns if you visit the local potery shop, or just reuse your Qiagen columns.
5- Submit your story in the comments, and we'll see if it's McGyver-worthy...
I'm not sure what intellectual masturbation is exactly, but if it's anything like the real thing... Anyhow, nobody likes an unhappy Coward so here are some Bayblab blasts from the past:
"This blog was more fun when it was about quirky research papers and fart & dick jokes. All this meta 'blogging about blogging' stuff is intellectual masturbation."
- The post that started it all - an innocent link to a BBC interview with hacker Gary McKinnon
- Our messy bench contest that drew maybe 3 entries (perhaps it's time to start that one again?)
- Our first podcast meets rave reviews.
- AC and I battle over who can find the weirdest case of supernumerary body parts. (AC wins)
- Bayblab almost gets sued
- Bayman tries to convince us of left-hand superiority (he's still deluded)
- We try to ferment a pumpkin
- And finally, The famous animal penis post (this is our all-time most popular post)
For those looking for some new material, here are some quick hits:
- Masturbation cuts prostate cancer risk (Does intellectual masturbation count?)
- 20 years of penis gun-shot wounds
- Scientists find, and kill, the oldest living animal
- Do elephants ever forget? (unclear, but they do develop vision problems)
- Women say that size doesn't matter (Right, like we believe FoxNews)
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
"In science, the distinction arises when one wishes to short-circuit the process by which the expert demonstrates her expertise by providing the interpretive narrative and rationale by which she has arrived at her conclusions. Once one moves on to the "just trust me on this" or "well, my professional experience and judgment lets me know that ...." argument, it becomes an appeal to "authority" for authority's sake, as opposed to an appeal to the experienced individual's actual related expertise."
One would think this would be self-evident, especially to bloggers professing to be scientists of great "authority". However it was none other than Greg Laden who kicked off the whole discussion with commentary following Kamel's recent post on anonymous blogging. Laden seemed to be arguing that anonymous blogging is a bad thing because one is unable to assess the credentials of the speaker, and therefore unable to determine the validity of their arguments.
I've said most of what I have to say on this topic in the comments to Kamel's post and over at DrugMonkey's place. Here I'll summarize by saying I tend to think that the validity of an argument has to do with evidence and reasoning, and not how many degrees or prizes the speaker has won. An accurate statistic quoted by an anonymous blogger for example, is no less accurate because the identity of the person citing it is unknown. Likewise, it is no more likely that HIV is not the cause of AIDS just because Kary Mullis won a Nobel prize for the invention of PCR.
But that's just my opinion.
UPDATE - Greg Laden has now posted a clarification of his position on anonymous/pseudononymous blogging at his place. Go there to read his opinion for yourself.
I am not an evolutionary biologist, but the comments seemed off. Most of the pro-science commenters there equate evolution with Darwinism - that is, speciation by mutation and natural selection. Natural selection is one evolutionary mechanism - indeed, the one people are most familiar with - but it is not the only one. Larry Moran at Sandwalk kicked off a bit of a discussion of this when he asked his readers to define evolution, and many different ideas were kicked around. Larry also has a nice explanation of one of those mechanisms, random genetic drift, in a piece at talkorigins.org. From the article:
"If a population is finite in size (as all populations are) and if a given pair of parents have only a small number of offspring, then even in the absence of all selective forces, the frequency of a gene will not be exactly reproduced in the next generation because of sampling error. If in a population of 1000 individuals the frequency of "a" is 0.5 in one generation, then it may by chance be 0.493 or 0.505 in the next generation because of the chance production of a few more or less progeny of each genotype. In the second generation, there is another sampling error based on the new gene frequency, so the frequency of "a" may go from 0.505 to 0.510 or back to 0.498. This process of random fluctuation continues generation after generation, with no force pushing the frequency back to its initial state because the population has no "genetic memory" of its state many generations ago. Each generation is an independent event. The final result of this random change in allele frequency is that the population eventually drifts to p=1 or p=0. After this point, no further change is possible; the population has become homozygous. A different population, isolated from the first, also undergoes this random genetic drift, but it may become homozygous for allele "A", whereas the first population has become homozygous for allele "a". As time goes on, isolated populations diverge from each other, each losing heterozygosity. The variation originally present within populations now appears as variation between populations." (Suzuki, D.T., Griffiths, A.J.F., Miller, J.H. and Lewontin, R.C. in An Introduction to Genetic Analysis 4th ed. W.H. Freeman 1989 p.704)(A quote of a quote? How meta.) I think some of the numbers were miscopied from Suzuki et al. so I've changed them here, but it isn't the actual numbers that are important so much as the concept. Read the full article, it's quite informative and covers a variety of examples of genetic drift.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Recently heard about this strange class of microbes, magnetotactic bacteria, which produce and contain magnetosomes. These are iron complexed with protein and are arranged intracellularly as a chain. The iron is in the form of magnetite, the same form present in naturally occurring lodestone. Magnetite, as you might have guessed, is magnetic. The magnetosomes in the magnetotactic bacteria facilitates magnetotaxis ie. their movement based upon the magnetic field of their environment. And this, it is thought, is the purpose of these structures in the magnetotactic bacteria. These bacteria are very senstive to the redox potential of their environment and use the magnetic field of the earth in order to find "down" to a less oxygen rich environment. Thus bacteria in the northern hemisphere have their magnetosomes arranged in such a way as to get them to swim to magnetic north, which is slightly down in the northern hemisphere, away from oxygen. The opposite it was thought was true in the southern hemisphere. I ran into a great science article that sheds some doubt as to this purpose of magnetosomes. Apparently this group found "south-seeking" magnetotactic bacteria in the northern hemisphere.
I'm just guessing here but when I first heard about these bacteria I thought that the magnetic field they produced might have been useful for biofilms or to arrange themselves in some bacterial community. But that's a nature paper for someone else.
Magnetosomes are pretty interesting themselves and have some biotechnology applications.
What is actually pretty spooky is that not only do migrating birds and salmon have magentosomes, but so does the human brain.
Edit: This is actually SPACE DNA. Famous lab guru and saxophonist, Kenny G, used it as a background at lab meeting. The picture was taken a little over a year ago, and shows the double helix nebula, near the center of our galaxy. Watson and Crick might as well have been peering at the heavens to come up with their model. Upon seeing the picture I wondered what kinds of processes could give rise to such a structure. There has to be a force driving a rotation and another driving the elongation that combined create a torsion of the gas in the nebula:
"We know the galactic center has a strong magnetic field that is highly ordered and that the magnetic field lines are oriented perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy," Morris said. "If you take these magnetic field lines and twist them at their base, that sends what is called a torsional wave up the magnetic field lines."
Follow the link to read a more detailed explanation.
Monday, April 14, 2008
A group from Texas is reporting a possible predictive test for lung cancer from oral swabs. The test looks at p16 and FHIT, two genes with known cancer links. These genes are deactivated in a large percentage of smokers with a 95% correlation between mouth and lung samples. The authors hope cheek swabs can be used as a less invasive monitor of pre-cancerous genetic changes in tobacco related cancers.
Other researchers at the conference are reporting data from cancer vaccine trials. The vaccine, E75, was shown to reduce mortality among patients with HER2/neu-positive breast cancer. In a small clinical trial, breast cancer patients receiving the vaccine had lower recurrence and up to 100% decrease in mortality compared to controls after 30 months (depending on the HER2 levels of the tumour). The vaccine is about to start phase III trials.
Finally, a group from Duke presented data that showed that, in mice, prostate cancer was worsened by exercise. In this study, prostate cancer implants grew faster on mice provided an exercise wheel compared to mice without a wheel. The authors believe it may be because of increased blood flow to the tumour and hope to apply this knowledge to improve drug delivery and treatment. They also stress that the risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity far outweigh those of prostate cancer, so don't trade in your treadmill just yet.
One of our
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"Students don't tend to ask questions at these Journal Clubs. In fact, I think that the prevailing sentiment is that we're supposed to go easy on the students, because if we were up there wouldn't we want the same consideration? So, easy questions (eg. Can you define that negative control?) are ok, but the hard ones (eg. Those controls are very off. Can you still interpret the data?) are not."
As was the response from PhysioProf:
"The issue under discussion is whether there should be a principle of "solidarity" among trainees--grad students and post-docs--in public venues such as seminars and journal clubs, pursuant to which trainees do not challenge one another publicly, so as not to show each other up, or embarrass one another. The answer is a resounding, "Fuck no!"...
This kind of attitude is completely insane. The entire essence of science--what defines it as a profession--is that scientists ask all questions that present themselves, either of themselves or of others...
I gave a research seminar at another institution this week during which the audience absolutely hammered me with really good perceptive critical questions. I fucking loved it. It meant they were interested and engaged. What could be more boring than standing in front of a room blathering on in the face of polite indifference?
When you fail to ask a question, or raise a criticism, based on some misguided sense of "loyalty" or "solidarity", you are actively harming the scientist you think you are protecting. Because someone somewhere will eventually ask the question--a paper reviewer, a grant reviewer, a thesis committee member, a job search committee member, a job seminar audience member--and the sooner the issue gets raised, the sooner the scientist can address it."
I don't have much to add (I think PhysioProf is bang on, but I'm sure many students share Lady scientist's concerns) but I can certainly relate to the observations - Audience Apathy at lab meetings, journal clubs and seminars has long perplexed me. Even harder to understand is Speaker Apathy. Why do so many students and post-docs (sometimes even the ones giving the talk) bother to show up to group exchanges week after week if not to participate and interact?
Posted by Bayman at 2:54 PM
Friday, April 11, 2008
I chose the comparison to Drosophila for two reasons. First it is an intensely-studied model organism. This means that Drosophila geneticists are constantly trying to convince us that their flies are virtually identical to humans (due to evolutionary conservation of molecular pathways and so forth) and therefore highly relevant to biomedical research. Second, many of the obvious physical characteristics of arthropods like Drosophila confound their true evolutionary relationship to humans and vertebrates in general. Until recently, I had a vague notion in my head that flies belonged to some sort of phylogenetic group of things with limbs, bodies, heads and eyes. It was just that flies don’t have backbones, and we do. I remember being shocked a couple years ago when a visiting speaker declared that sea urchins were a better model for studying development because they were so much more related to us than D. melanogaster. Turns out she was right. According to phylogeny, it would seem that many of the macroscopic similarities between humans and flies are examples of parallel or convergent evolution.
So this brings me to the main point of the challenge and the key to solving most of the questions. Drosophila melanogaster and Homo sapiens belong to phyla from opposite sides of two major branches of the animal tree, the deuterostomes and the protostomes. These lines split off from a common bilateran ancestor around 670 million years ago. The main features that distinguish these groups of phyla are embryological, like which hole becomes the anus and so forth.
At any rate, D. melanogaster belongs to the arthropoda (insects), which share a common protostomian ancestor with a diverse crowd of phyla that includes the molluscs (ie clams, snails, squid, octopuses) the nematodes (roundworms) and annelids (earthworms, leeches). On our side (the deuterostomes) we have the chordates (includes all animals with notochords like the tunicates and the lancelet, as well as all vertebrates) as well as the echinoderms (includes the sea urchin, starfishes and sea cucumbers).
So with this in mind most of the questions can be answered. Deuterostome species share a more recent common ancestor with each other than they do with the protostomes, so we are more similar to each other than to D. Melanogaster (a protostome). Falling in to this category are 1) starfishes, 2) the spotted salamander 7) the tunicate, Botrylloides violaceus, 8) the lancelet and 10) the yellowfin tuna. On the other hand, sharing a more recent common ancestor with the arthropods, other members of the protostomians are likely to be (roughly) equally similar to us as D. melanogaster is. So equally similar are 4) the common snail and 9) the roundworm C. elegans.
So this leaves: 3) the
1) more related to humans D. melanogaster (starfish)
2) more related (salamander)
3) less related (jellyfish)
4) equally related (snail)
5) less related (Trichoplax adherens)
6) less related (sponge)
7) more related (tunicate)
8) more related (lancelet)
9) equally related (roundworm, C. elegans)
10) more related (yellowfin tuna)
11) equally related (squid)
And the winner is…
A three way tie! Between
Anyway these are the correct answers as I (a lowly “biomedical researcher”) understand phylogeny based mainly on my interpretation of Mayr (What Evolution Is, Mayr 2001). The most recent molecular data as discussed a current Nature paper, (HT windy and Nimravid) seems to support them. (A beautiful animal phylogenetic tree from that paper is available here. Great poster for your wall!) Nonetheless, if anyone has a grievance and wants to make their case, bring it!
Stay tuned, as I’ll be adding a breakdown of the “class’s” answers. This should be interesting. Also, I hope to discuss what this all means with respect to the relative value of Drosophila as a model system for human biology in a future post. Are there organisms we're not paying much attention to that would be better? If you have comments on this topic they would be interesting to hear so feel free to kick it off below.
PS – If you want to look at the answers from commenters on the original post, you’ll have to click on the post title to see them all. Or click here. Seems our comment script is bugging out and spitting out incomplete comment listings in the main page.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Measles is a highly contagious virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, conjuntivitis and a potentially itchy rash. Complications are common and include pneumonia, encephalitis and corneal scarring. In developed countries, the fatality rate is about 1:1000 in otherwise healthy people.
If only there was some sort of shot to prevent infection.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
"Transmission of an undetected tumour in the donor is rare (incidence 0·02%).77 The question of whether a tumour in the recipient has arisen de novo or by transmittance from the donor can be answered by doing a biopsy of the tumour and cross karyotyping the recipient and donor tissue to establish tumour origin. [...] The overall mortality from donor-related malignancies is calculated at 38%, with that of transmitted tumours at 46% and derived de-novo tumours at 33%. Cadaveric-donor-related tumour mortality is 0·007% (8 of 108 062 recipients).77"
Monday, April 07, 2008
So today's game is simple enough. I'll list off a bunch of organisms, and you say whether each is more, less or equally related (biologically) to us human beings than the
Everyone, including Creationists, can play. But no cheating please! That means no Google, Wikipedia or textbooks, etc. We just want to get an idea of what the average, highly intelligent Bayblab reader thinks. There's no penalty for wrong answers, but cheaters' comments will be deleted, they will be banned from the Bayblab for life, banished to PZ Myer's dungeon and forced to read Greg Laden's blog for the rest of their days. And Larry Moran will call you mean names. The winner will become very famous and enjoy 100 years of good blogging karma. The correct answers will be posted in a few days. Good luck!
Here we go:
1) The Starfishes (Asteroidea)
2) The Spotted Salamander
3) Palau stingless jellyfish
4) The Common Snail
5) Trichoplax adhaerens
6) Cloud Sponge, Aphrocallistes vastus
7) The Tunicate, Botrylloides violaceus
8) The Lancelet or Amphoxius
9) The roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans.
10) Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus Albacore)
11) Market Squid
It's easy to be a holy man on a mountain top, and it's even easier to be critical hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. I'll have more faith in your opinion when you stop hiding behind Bayman, The Doc and Kamel. At least Anonymous Coward had the integrity to advertise himself honestly.Arguments about pseudonymity/anonymity are as old as the internet and often boil down to accusations of cowardice or questioning credibility. Ironically, they often come from likewise pseudonymed writers or people who think revealing an untraceable first and last name (or in the case of the above commenter, first initial) amounts to any difference from a fake name.
First of all, using a pseudonym is not the same as being anonymous. Dr. Crazy at Reassigned Time has a nice discussion of this. A pseudonym is an alternate, online identity. How 'alternate' is entirely up to the user. For me, Kamel the Bayblabber isn't really that different from Kamel in RealLife(tm). I suspect someone like PhysioProf holds the same opinions on and off the blogosphere (including, unsurprisingly, an opinion on anonymous blogging), but the language used to express them differs (I don't know PhysioProf though, so I could be completely wrong). Others are probably even more radically different online than off. Anonymous is different. Anonymous is no identity.
I don't have any problem with either approach. I've always considered that the nice thing about anonymous argument is that the argument can stand on its own merit and not get bogged down in who's saying it. It doesn't matter if I'm a corporate shill, a doctor, a professor, or just a grad student with a computer and an opinion as long as the arguments make sense. In fact, as someone who blogs with a pseudonym, I may even have to work harder to establish credibility rather than relying on credentials.
There are any number of reasons why one would choose not to reveal their identities on their blog or in comments, many of which are legitimate. Some bloggers, like FemaleScienceProfessor, do it for safety. There are hateful people who will threaten or attack you for your argument or even for who you are. She writes:
Every week I reject (delete) a number of obscene and/or threatening comments that are sent to me via this blog. [...] Do I only get these comments because I am anonymous? I don't believe that. And why would I want these sick people to know exactly who I am, where I live, where my daughter goes to school?It may not be misogynists you're trying to avoid, but racists, people who don't like your political views, who don't like it if you do animal research, etc.
Some people use a pseudonym for privacy reasons. Some people are very protective of their personal information and don't want it readily available for anyone who wants it, or don't want their email flooded or phone calls about things they write. Others do it for security. Perhaps a science grad student doesn't want political views to hurt future job prospects, or a tenure track prof has similar worries. Maybe, if you blog about personal experiences, you want to protect the identities of other players involved. The reasons to take on a pseudonym are personal, and I don't think need to be justified to anybody else.
There is a downside. Some people will just focus on the anonymity of a blogger rather than engage the actual arguments being made. Like the comment I mentioned at the outset, it can be a distraction. Or it could cost you some respect, or you might not get taken seriously at all.
A recent article in the Chronicle's Careers section doesn't address blogging directly, but tries to take take on anonymity in writing but with no real point. Using 3 recent examples of pseudonymous writers from the same publication, the author - rather than focusing on the problems of blogging with a pseudonym (the article, after all, is titled 'The Dangers of Anonymity') - chooses to attack possible justifications for taking on a fake name instead. In this medium, no justification is required. Nevertheless, the 3 writers he called out responded with their reasons anyway.
What do people think? Do you pay more attention if you know the name of the writer? Do bloggers need to justify their pseudonymity?
Friday, April 04, 2008
As always, hats off to Ben for designing the logo.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
"In deciding when to publish, you will have to balance several considerations, but try to resist the temptation to rush into print, if you have a choice. Remember, the quality of your publications is what matters most in the long run. A paper that is incomplete or carelessly put together is less likely to be accepted for publication and will be an inefficient use of your time. Even worse, incorrect results will damage your reputation."
"Writing up an incomplete or flawed story is not time-effective, since writing a good or bad paper generally takes the same amount of time."
—Tom Misteli, National Cancer Institute
Quoted from: Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty
Of course, waiting until you have the "perfect" paper in hand before submitting is a luxury most of us can't afford, especially grad students in the twilight of that PhD. We need the recognition a paper offers to get funded, finish our degrees and move on to the next career stage. More established scientists, like Nobel winners, NationalHeroes and tenured profs can afford to be as patient as they want. But even for us lowly and desperate students, it's valuable to realize that to "publish or perish" is not always the best path to pursue. Getting a paper to your name is nice, but it comes at a steep cost. You'll only have so many papers in you, so use them wisely!
a difficult operation. To relax, he went to the Charles River and sat
down on a bench. Suddenly, he heard cries of ‘Help! Help!’ and saw
a person drowning. The surgeon jumped into the river and pulled
the person to safety. He lay exhausted on the banks of the river and
again heard, ‘Help! Help! ’ He glanced at the river and saw another
person drowning. Despite his exhaustion, he jumped into the river
and pulled the second drowning person to safety. Now, he was truly
exhausted and lay on the ground huffing and puffing and again
heard, ‘Help! Help! ’ He raised his head to look toward the river
and saw a third person drowning, but he also noticed two basic
researchers walking by the river. The surgeon shouted, ‘Colleagues,
you must help! This is the third drowning person in the river in one
afternoon! ’ The researchers looked at the river and then at the
surgeon and said, ‘Three people drowning in one afternoon? This
is very interesting! We’ll walk upstream to see who’s throwing
Posted by Anonymous Coward at 6:20 PM
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Posted by Bayman at 11:32 PM