Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Generic hostility, Part 1

The other day I sent this around to the usual targets at Berkeley.


Subject: Cryptic species and real genera; also, lasers

Hi all,

I promised to send this to Brian and Alan, but then I realized that many more of you might be interested. Here's the news:

Certain bone proteins appear to be genus-specific.

Before you gun me down with your quick-draw "What's a genus?" Wake&Mishler revolver, just hang on a sec. If these proteins behave as advertised, we might finally have an objective basis for recognizing genera. AND we might be able to identify otherwise meaningless chunks of bone, which could be of some use to neontologists, and would definitely be of great use to paleontologists. Read all about it here.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that there have been several new additions to the "Write this way" thread on my blog, in the form of a fourth entry, by one Randy Irmis, and a long comment on same, by one Darren Naish. Yes, my intellectual pool is highly inbred--but it sure is active! The floor is now open for jokes attributing the same qualities to my gene pool.



P.S. The bone proteins mentioned above are sequenced with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). When my subject line promises lasers, I deliver.


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