Sunday, August 29, 2010

World DNA Day 2011

Since this website materialized, last month, I have been pleasantly surprised by the collective response. 70 hits per day has been about average, along with a stream of emails, some informative, most very articulate, and a few strangely entertaining. Please keep them coming. Yesterday, I received an extremely welcome message from a Ms Alina Qian of Dalian, China. It began:

‘Dear Dr Spradbery,

‘We are organizing BIT’s 2nd World DNA and Genome Day 2011. It is truly an honor [sic] to welcome you to present your work (Track 4-6: Genetics and Forensics) on April 29 [my birthday], 2011 in Dalian, China.’

Then, later:

‘We would invite your precious comments and suggestions on the structure of our program. Also, your reference to the other speakers would be highly appreciated.’

It lists some of the other speakers as:

‘Dr Thomas A Steitz, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2009; Dr Aaron Ciechanover, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2004; Dr Tim Hunt, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2001; Dr Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1993; Dr Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1993; Dr Avram Hershko, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2004; and Dr Robert Richardson, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics 1996.’

Needless to say, I rubbed my eyes and read it again! It was, clearly, a genuine communication from the Beijing Institute of Technology, although I have yet to discover the source of my nomination. It relates to a research article, published in Bioscience Horizons by Oxford University Press in May of this year. This was a compressed version of a dissertation report which I had written during a highly enjoyable term at the University of Chester, England. It was the first forensics article ever published in that particular journal, so, naturally, I am delighted by its recognition and at the prospect of another trip around the world.

I have no idea what to expect when I arrive. In the small print of the invitation, though, is the promise of:

‘Five Social and Art events to let you enjoy the essence of romantic Dalian.’

Quite what that means is anyone’s guess. It could imply anything from a fine art gallery to a lap-dancing club. When I read the rest of the literature, it prompted me to think back to the 2002 London Book Fair at Kensington Olympia. There were 1,600 booksellers under one roof, along with sales executives, advertising agents, retailers, PR types and all manner of consultants – but hardly any writers, on whose creativity the whole parade ultimately depended. It seemed to be so dreadfully ‘top heavy’ to me. It is to be hoped that DNA Day centres on the most deserving individuals – the scientists themselves.

So watch this space, if you will. The plot will surely thicken between now and next April.

Full details of this prestigious event can be found opposite at:

My research article is freely available, in full (either HTML or PDF), at:

Copyright 2010 Paul Spradbery

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