breaking up

Shameful confession time. Here I am, a science writer of sorts, and I can never remember the difference between mitosis and meiosis. They seem to me like “left” and “right”. I know they are important labels referring to different things but I can never remember which refers to what.

Failing to distinguish left from right is an awful lot more frightening for my passengers. But it worries me less. I would rather die and kill a few innocent pedestrians than have the reviewer in Nature notice that I had forgotten which was the X and which the Y chromosome.

Stalactites and stalagmites have been easy ever since I realised that tits hang down. But I can’t think of any mnemonic for chromosomal excitements. Does anyone know one?

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5 Responses to breaking up

  1. RupertG says:

    That reminds me of the rabbit biologist who got the wrong one identified with sexual reproduction and quite naturally killed himself through shame — he died of mixing mitosis.

    Um. How about — Mitosis goes on in your mitts, but meio’s made with eggs?

    I tried to come up with something clever about the Haploid Dynasty and two-headed eagles with half their chromosomes apiece, but I got confused over the role of the Spanish Netherlands half-way through and made a mess on the carpet.


    (I am the only one here, aren’t I? Last night, I dreamed about a top-secret 1950s British stealth reconnaisance plane called an English Electric Sheep.)

  2. RupertG says:

    That should be ‘mitosis goes on in my toes’, of course.



  3. Andrew says:

    I think that “meio’s made with eggs” will do very nicely, thank you.

    All I can ever think of is (to the tune of ‘There’s no business like show business’) “There’s My tosis and your osis”. But this, though memorable, doesn’t help at all to remember which is which.

  4. Rupert's girlfriend says:

    No, he’s not the only one here – he asked me to read it too!

  5. RupertG says:

    And here’s something I stole from Cix…

    Spam poetry
    Has anyone else ever noticed the bizarre beauty of some of the fake names
    on spam mails? Below are just some of the names attached to spams I
    received during June. It’s like a list of _Babylon 5_ supporting

    No replies necessary, or your breasts will grow by a guaranteed 351%.

    Ian S.


    Lanai Annora
    Elliott Ayoka
    Asli Blithe
    Hanh Brewster
    Lynch Brighton
    Gaylee Brown
    Cirocco Buzz
    Marcy Cade
    Waggoner Cam
    Zenia Claire
    Rori Columbia
    Rangle Dale
    Lois Dambrosia
    Lavonna Deselm
    Miliani Dionysius
    Funda Duda
    Becky Fidelia
    Keneth Galayda
    Wasaki Garrick
    Pierrette Heather
    Cole Jereni
    Darwin Khoury
    Kineta Malaya
    Delpha McCain
    Bushido Medical
    Thady Melinda
    Renate Mignon
    Cai Nardo
    Amiri Nariko
    Malo Nitza
    Lucien Noma
    Tiffany Nurse
    Jewel Palti
    Rusty Paulo
    Boaz Phylicia
    Billie Prosper
    Nikki Rohan
    Parlan Scarlett
    Kipp Sumana
    Foy Sydnee
    Miya Tacita
    Appollo Tailynn
    Kacy Tassos
    Maria Teacher
    Cira Teal
    Vida Tess
    Rio Traelic-an
    Joshua Yair
    Fountain Zeroun

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