Tag Archives: Touching RNA


TOUCHING RNA by Anna Marie Pyle

“The molecular world has always been part of my mental furniture. I grew up on the outskirts of Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, famed for its research on energy, materials, and nuclear weapons. My dad was a physician and biomedical researcher who loved chemistry above all things, and who would interpret all of life’s vicissitudes in terms of some obscure chemical reaction or metabolic dysfunction. Learning chemistry, therefore, became a necessity for basic communication with my father. My neighbors were mostly physicists who would bring home spare bits and pieces from labs around the country. My friends and I sprayed rainbows of color on the bedroom wall with old prisms and played with a cube of depleted uranium metal that seemed impossibly heavy compared with the cubes of iron and aluminum that had been thoughtfully cut to exactly the same size. We were told that the uranium cube was only “slightly radioactive,” which nicely reflects the relaxed parenting attitudes of the 1960s. Our parents represented science as play and as a vehicle for fun. The microscopic world of molecules was as real to us as the grass in our backyards or our pets. We had no idea how lucky we were.”

I really don’t know what to say about this article.  I have read it about seven times just for the heck of it.  Entertaining and informative, right up my alley, baby!.  If the explanations and the science behind the discoveries on the magnificent Swiss-Army knife molecule called ribonucleic acid (RNA) are not enough to intrigue you, how about the opening paragraph highlighted above?  Magnificent work.

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