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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Molecular collisions occur on the orders of magnitude lasting literally millionths of a second resulting in fate changing reactions. We don’t see it happen. Only the effects are tangible. These life sustaining and life directing phenomena require precise conditions and multiple supporting players. They are who we are and what we will become.

I remember reading recently, or not so recently, that the number of single people slightly exceeds the number of people in committed relationships. Tens of millions, if not a hundred million single people in the US and yet it is not uncommon to hear about the lack of available or suitable partners. If Love is supposed to be this unstoppable force, why is it so regularly stymied? How can two who once loved each other, who had all the necessary cofactors in an optimal environment not still be together?

Hmm, there it is. To paraphrase, when the conclusion is without a doubt but does not follow from the premises, check the premises. We know that removal of a cofactor or change in the environment can alter a reactant’s conformation. We know that competitive inhibitors can change the rate of effective collisions thereby diminishing productive interactions. Previously unknown requirements or conditions may have been unmet. In other words, it just wasn’t the right time or the right place.

Makes sense, but logic provides only so much solace. There are quiet times like now when I miss her. I miss who we were together, the times we were good to each other. I grew and was changed irreversibly for the better by her. I hope that was mutual. I regret the times we weren’t right. We’d misunderstand or not communicate or just have different expectations. Again, for my part in that, I’m truly sorry.

An enzyme acts on a substrate but is undiminished and unchanged by the reaction. It is capable of acting on another substrate given the proper conditions. We’ve moved on and we’re good for each other in other ways. We differ from the molecules in this respect. I am not only undiminished, I am enhanced by our relationship. I am altered, and for that I am grateful.

Déjà vu?

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