Readers Wax Poetic: PMWC Ticket Contest Winners

In the last few weeks of 2010, readers had the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and submit a poem for a chance to win free admission to the 3rd annual Personalized Medicine World Conference taking place in Silicon Valley January 18-19, 2011. We received many wonderful entries spanning a wide variety of poetic styles, making the job of our nine judges a challenge, but five poems made the final cut, rewarding their authors with free passes to the conference.Judges ranked their top five favorite entries; all first-ranked choices received five points, second-ranked choices received four points, on down to the fifth-ranked choices which received one point each. The five entries with the highest point totals were deemed the winners.Not surprisingly, poetry is very much a matter of personal taste, as not a single poem made it onto every judge’s short list, and the two poems that received far and away the highest overall scores only made it onto the short list of five judges (but those judges clearly loved them). Many poems were favorites of individual judges, but unfortunately received too few overall points to break into the top five.We’d like to congratulate all of the winners and extend our appreciation to everyone who participated — who knew genetics could be so poetic?Here are the five winning entries, in no particular order:A SNPs Poem To His Love by Johan Sosa

My love, you’re just my phenotype I don’t care dear about your genotype My DNA’s under pressure for romance Darling I have no Family Inheritance But honey my ancestry’s wealth is health So let’s pair up our chromosomes and bind

Untitled by Oana Carja

I used to think in terms of integrals, Banach spaces and martingales Then I met genetics With its mysteries and poetics Now, I think in terms of ancestry Chromosomes and 23andMe Haplogroups and GWAS studies, Are now my late-night buddies (!! 🙂 ) Epigenetics fascinates me And will (hopefully) get me a PhD.

The Haplogroup Not Taken by Robin Goldstein (with deepest apologies to Robert Frost)

Two SNPs diverged in a Chromosome and wonder I the meaning thus A lifelong need for brush and comb or sullen gaze at polished dome; The benefit, a lack of morning fuss.

And so I spit into a tube and learned of things like Phenotype and Gregor’s bees, though I a rube more like to solve a Rubik’s cube Or chat with Stanford doctors using Skype.

Now “The waiting is the hardest part” Tom Petty sang (left-handedly) And “Cogito Ergo Sum”, said Decartes Though philosophy cannot impart That smell of asparagus to my pee.

I shall be blogging this with a sigh To cousins 2 and 4, first, fifth and 3 Two SNPs diverged in my genes and I Intent to learn the reasons why Now wait results from 23andMe

Chromosome Language by Lev Shaket

Listen, I’m a chromosome poet, wielding words with the finesse of GWAS studying the SNPs in my genome with the speed of an Ion Torrent. Big up to Mendel, me and him homies since his Moravian moments. Feeling like a disciple of science, utilizing the finest appliance to trace my DNA to the bones of Octavian Romans.

C, we don’t need A pen, just polymerase and four bases, to rewrite a story for patients in a base four language. And with algorithmic precision and a trained statistician, we can master sequencing pieces like a painting by Titian. Armed with drugs corresponding to our own variations, we can enhance our own health and bring disease to the basics. And let’s not forget that in a matter of days, we can pinpoint the source of an outbreak for Haitians.

Yet one question remains for the strictly poetic: Is talent developed or is it genetic? Is it what one inherits, or does one earn it through merit? Whatever the answer, one thing is apparent– what we define as aesthetic envelops the basis of this un-replicated chromosome language.

A Farsical Tragic Genetic Love Poem by Zach Charlop-Powers

My dear Rosalie, alas, its not to be not fifth but only first cousins are we unrequited my love, I’ll pine at the moon if only I had not sent my spit to Spittoon if only we had not seen 23andMe if only, my love, we’d forsake our ancestry not worried about our shared haplotypes, or our SNP inheritance, only love at first site who cares for genomics when it destroys our love who says our children would be genetic bums!??@! I suppose my dear Rosie you’ve found someone new who shares not my proclivity for SNP-A or Type 2 I suppose my dear Rosie you’re no longer alone you’ve found someone with no sneeze reflex nor gallstones or risk factor to congenital blinking and blindness who forgets anniverseries; the very picture of kindness perhaps he is handsome and tall and not even related perhaps you are walking with him now, on the beach, elated alas my dear Rosie it was not to be you saw the sad truth and the sad truth was me.

  • Eric Pondusa

    Very COOL :>)

  • Ann

    Dear Poets:

    Thank you for these wonderful poems. Much enjoyed. Go forth and multiply and pass on those creative genes – or – go and teach your art – nature v nurture will not be debated here by me in the face of such elegant wordsmithing.