Get thee to a gene-ery

Sister Mary Jane Paolella blames herself.

Brendan Maher
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Sister Mary Jane Paolella blames herself. Two bands on her gel were running awfully close together, and she must have cut out the wrong one. Thus the sequence her girls got for the putative bovine vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) only matched microbial sequences in BLAST searches. But small setbacks like that certainly don't hold back this 58-year-old nun, an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Despite the error, her students' poster on the basis of two other partial sequences for the collagen receptor (COL1A1) and the calictonin receptor (CALCR) was still accepted to last month's annual GSAC conference, this year in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The five high school seniors she brought with her to the J. Craig Venter Institute-sponsored meeting – it was her seventh such conference – shared not only the sequencing sister's love of genomics, but her grace. "Thank...

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