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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Monday's Molecule #116: Winners

UPDATE:The photographs of the mouse embryos are from a paper by Kothary et al. (1989). This was a study where a lacZ (β-galactosidase) gene under the control of a strong, ubiquitously competent promoter was introduced into mouse zygotes. When the gene was induced (right) the presence of β-galactosidase was detected by a blue color assay. The foreign gene is induced in almost every tissue.

These sorts of experiments in construction of transgenic mice were later extended by the work of Nobel Lauteates Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans, and Oliver Smithies who developed techniques for using embryonic stem cells.

Several people guessed the Nobel Laureates but only two people provided an explanation of the "molecule." Dima Klenchin, who is ineligible, was the only one to pick up on the hint and find the 1989 paper.

The winner is Shumona De of Dalhousie University.

If you look closely you'll realize that these mouse embryos aren't really "molecules" in any meaningful sense of the word "molecule." That doesn't matter 'cause I still want you to identify what's going on here. This is the first time that I've resorted to using photographs from my previous life—shows you how desperate I'm getting!

The images are supposed to remind you of the work of some Nobel Laureates. See if you can guess who they are.

The first person to identify the photographs and the Nobel Laureates wins a free lunch at the Faculty Club. Previous winners are ineligible for one month from the time they first won the prize.

There are eight ineligible candidates for this week's reward: David Schuller of Cornell University, Adam Santoro of the University of Toronto, Dima Klenchin from the university of Wisconsin, Alex Ling from the University of Toronto, Bill Chaney of the University of Nebraska, Elvis Cela from the University of Toronto, Peter Horwich from Dalhousie University, and Devin Trudeau from the University of Toronto.

Dima and Bill have donated their free lunch to a deserving undergraduate so I'm going to continue to award an additional free lunch to the first undergraduate student who can accept it. Please indicate in your email message whether you are an undergraduate and whether you can make it for lunch.


Nobel Laureates
Send your guess to Sandwalk (sandwalk (at) and I'll pick the first email message that correctly identifies the molecule and names the Nobel Laureate(s). Note that I'm not going to repeat Nobel Prizes so you might want to check the list of previous Sandwalk postings by clicking on the link in the theme box.

Correct responses will be posted tomorrow.

Comments will be blocked for 24 hours. Comments are now open.

Kothary, R., Clapoff, S., Darling, S., Perry, M.D., Moran, L.A., Rossant, J. (1989) Inducible expression of an hsp68-lacZ hybrid gene in transgenic mice. Development. 105:707-14. [PDF]


  1. oh crap, for some weird reason I thought you already did Capecchi, Evans, and Smithies.

  2. I believe you mean Peter Horwich, not Paul Horwich. Just FYI.

  3. Congratulations to award winner Shumona De, she has worked very diligently to achieve this honor!