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Showing posts from February, 2021

Ten Years Ago- A Strawberry Genome

  One of the joys of publishing a scientific manuscript is the correspondence from the journal that the paper has finally been accepted.  Peer review and high journal standards are a slow and deliberate maze to navigate that stand in the way of sharing your prized work. There is one monumental publication in the hundred plus I’ve authored where the research, writing and review processes became a delicate managerial dance between negotiation, combat, finesse, psychology, and arm twisting. This week we celebrate its 10 year birthday, with two sturdy gin and tonics for every piece of birthday cake.   The publication of the woodland strawberry genome in February of 2011 was the culmination of efforts from at least 77 scientists.   It was a battle from the beginning, and story that few people know and the rest tried to forget. Somehow I became the manager of the project, so the successes and frustrations are still a little fresh even after a decade. The genome sequenced was not that b

The Soul-Less Anti-Vaccination Movement

 I read the tweet and immediately was overcome with a vacant, empty feeling.  It was a cold and heartless castigation, aimed at hurting someone that was already down, someone experiencing monumental anguish. Now, they were piling on. Cold, cold hearts.  A radiation oncology resident named Dr. Sara Bertran Ponce was expecting a child.  She was 14 weeks into the pregnancy and all was well.  She received the COVID19 vaccine and proudly shared the experience in an interest to encourage others to do the same. The following quotation appeared on a Vox.com story about the safety of the vaccines during pregnancy.  Inspiring, courageous words of Dr. Ponce, guiding others to follow her expertise to protect others.  Her twitter stream showed the words of a public advocate, someone dedicated to public health.  And the #vaccineswork hashtag was certainly raising the blood pressure of many that see the COVID19 vaccines as a threat to their bankrupt movement.  At that point Dr. Ponce placed herself

Global News, Rachel Parent, and a Deliberate Hit Piece

 I remember going back to Chicago to visit my father just before Christmas in 2015.  The previous months had been brutal, and I was finally healing after activists deliberately misinterpreted my emails and the New York Times made false accusations that I traded grants for lobbying time. The personal and professional fallout was awful, but subsiding. It was perfect timing for those seeking my demise to pile-on, to take another shot at a career academic researcher that has dedicated his time to research in indoor agriculture lighting and the genomics of small fruit flavor. His efforts to communicate the science behind biotechnology still were not appreciated by many.   US Right to Know, a now irrelevant fossil of the anti-science crusade against biotechnology commissioned Allison Vuchnich of Global News Canada to drop the hammer in a carefully coordinated next phase of career assassination.  After all, I survived a their claims of malfeasance, quid-pro-quo payoffs, and colluding with c