At work, my boss and I have just about put the final touches on a manuscript that I have been working on for a while. One of the measures of progress in the job is to publish in peer-reviewed journals, so the more good papers that our lab puts out, the better.
This one will be a good one, it just took too long. I'm ready to send it off for review.
When we were done talking about the paper, I showed him some results of something else that I had been working on. Another kind of DNA marker called SNPs (people usually call them "snips") which stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. SNPs are used a lot in human genetics work, and one of the results of the Human Genome Project has been to associated groups of SNPs with a higher likelihood of something, like a disease.
If I find SNPs in coding regions of DNA, that is, within genes themselves, as opposed to the extensive amount of DNA in organisms' genomes that doesn't code for anything then those are differences that might help us with our efforts to tell groups of mosquitoes apart taxonomically, AND (which would be a really cool thing) in our efforts to characterize differences in these critters' ability to carry and transmit disease.
I think that's the longest sentence I've ever written.
I'm excited about this. There are labs where there are teams of people working on the same thing, but there's lots of genes out there, so I'm optimistic that we can make a contribution in this area of research. I have been able to find differences between two of the species we work with, which are closely related, so it's so far, so good.
After we got done with that, I asked H if he had heard anything about the budget for next year. He said he hadn't, but that it was going to be another fight. For a while, I started to feel the familiar anxiety about losing my job that I had for a good part of the spring and summer last year. And you know what? It's way too early for that nonsense. Not only do I have almost seven months yet on my contract, after seeing how it played out last year, I know they'll do all they can to keep me on, and that (more importantly) I'll be OK. So I let myself off that hook.