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Acrostic poem for Aussie Nobel Laureate who cracked the DNA secret of youth

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Elizabeth H Blackburn with yet another medal for her work: the 2012 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal. Photo by the Science History Institute.

Who doesn’t love an acrostic poem? Today I’ve written just one more science poem …an acrostic science poem this time … for another Aussie Nobel Laureate and scientist: Elizabeth H Blackburn. And that’s because….today is Elizabeth’s birthday!

Elizabeth’s team discovered that telomeres at the end of our chromosomes protect us from aging. Three cheers for that!

Poetry form: Acrostic
The first letter of each line spells a word. Since this acrostic is about the role of telomeres, the lines shorten with time.

To reflect the way that telomeres protect the coded meaning of DNA, I’ve protected the meaning in each line using words formed from the letters in ‘telomere’.

Laureate: Elizabeth H. Blackburn
Elizabeth H Blackburn and her colleagues Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering that our DNA chromosomes are protected at each end by telomeres.


By Cristy Burne

The instructions for life coded into your cells like the long lines of shoelaces untied tee term toe tome tore teem tree

Each life-encoding lace protected at both ends by a cap not of plastic but of repeating echoes eel elm emote

Like children in a spelling test our enzymes race to replicate the coded laces lee let lore

Over and over, omitting, overlooking, losing a little each time ouch oh omelet

Maybe you’re not fussed about letters misplaced melt molt

Except they protect your essence el em

Resist rot


Thank goodness for telomeres, right? And one of the best ways to protect your telomeres is to exercise. So, go on…put down your device and head outside for some brain-inspiring, teleomere-building fresh air and fun!

(Then come in and use that inspiration to write a science poem!)

Want to learn more about some of Australia’s other science heroes? Check out Aussie STEM Stars and help spread the word of our great Australian science stars.

Author: cristyburne


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