Real Life Science
This week I’ve been ploughing through final figure revisions for a big paper that’s been a couple years in the making 👏👏👏. Everything was going (relatively) smooth until I got to a tree I was trying to plot with associated barcharts. The idea was to summarize some data on major clades in this tree by putting barcharts of summary statistics aligned with each major clade to the side of the tree.
Recently, as part of my work characterizing plant cell walls, I needed to express a few proteins that would serve as molecular probes. I read a couple of papers and the boss man gave me the green light. The first step is to find the protein sequence and have the gene synthesized so that we can transform it into some E. coli and start expression tests. So to order the synthesized gene I went to the paper that described the protein, scoured the methods, and found that–as expected–they didn’t give the sequence, they simply referred to a previous paper, which referred to a previous paper, and after going down the rabbit hole I finally found the original reference.
Welcome to a new series: Friday Fails. I’m aiming for weekly consistency with this one, but some may weeks I may just Tweet my fails (and inevitably miss some posts, look out for an upcoming Friday Fail on not posting the previous week!). The reason for this series is not to denigrate myself, it’s in the interest of honesty. The point is to showcase the real me, or at least a less shiny version… shiny as in that girl in your lab who has an NSF grant, 3 papers, and manages to show up every day looking 💯; or that professor who got tenure while raising 2 kids and publishing her ass off.