How projects get started ...

Why not SMOSE?

It was a hot summer afternoon.
The azaleas were moving slowly in the breeze,
and Rob, the undergrad who was supposed to do the key experiments
that would prove that genotyping could be done via SMOSE, had just deserted us
to start an internship at the Medical School.

Jay, who had left a well-paid job at a corporation, was not sweating
quite as hard as I was, and did not seem perturbed
by the prospect of getting into another biotech project.
We were sitting in front of the old chemistry building
with its brick walls and deteriorating stucco ornamentations
and groups of students were moving towards the field.

There was no doubt that MALDI would allow us to
follow the degradation of oligonucleotide probes unable
to hybridize to the DNA to be genotyped and show us the fully complementary probe
as a survivor, but what would the nuclease do when
faced with a Chinese wall of a PCR product
rather than the short synthetic strands we had been using thus far?

Would this wall be broken up into smaller pieces by the
residual endonuclease activity in the crude enzyme prep we were using and
clutter the spectra with uninterpretable fragments?
Would the polymeric DNA mess up the crystallization of the matrix?
Would the kinetics be so slow that the method became impractical?
Would we be able to get patient samples?
Was it unfair to hire an experienced postdoc as a volunteer?

The minute-hand was moving and it was time to go.
See you around mate ...
Why not SMOSE?


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