A biologist’s ode to his mother

Transcribed lyrics after the jump:

To make one me, you just add half of mom and half of dad.
That is what I once believed.
But now I know that I was wrong.
You gave so much to me mom, besides one half a set of genes.
You gave me nutrients, transcription factors,
nearly everything that matters,
plus my prenatal environment (transplacental inheritance)
mRNA, mitochondria,
That back in the day once belonged to ya (they’re cytoplasmic)
and I just want to thank you for supplying them.

Just like two strands of DNA are spirally entwined,
Your nature and your nurture inspirally combined.
Scientists reminded me and I find that it is true,
Slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you.
Slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you.

Mitochondria power the cell,
and they have DNA as well.
Transcription factors modulate transcription.
And since they’re in the cytoplasm,
The egg’s the only one who has em’,
and sperm, I guess, they don’t have much ambition.

My sex determination gene means that I’m a guy.
You gave me one X chromosome, and Dad gave me one Y.
X has over a thousand genes, Y has less than 92.
That’s why slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you.
Slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you.

I roomed in your womb for nine months and I never have paid the rent.
Your glucocorticoids helped shaped my hypothalamic development.
I took your blood and sucked it dry of every nutrient (it’s gross but true)
Sometimes I wonder where the time went (where did it go?)
Sometimes I wonder where it all went.

I know I’ll never understand all you have done for me (I’m not that smart)
But since you paid for college I’ll get my BS degree (bachelor of science)
And I have learned it’s not BS, but absolutely true.
Slightly more than half of everything I am is thanks to you.
More than half of everything I am is thanks to you

—- Whew. I wonder if there will be a follow-up song, “Less than half of everything I am is thanks to you Dad. You slacker.”

Here’s a recap video that comes to mind, of Neil Degrasse Tyson speaking on the importance of raising his children to be scientifically literate even if they won’t grow up to work in science.

“How do you look at the world? What does the world look like through your lens? If you’re scientifically literate, the world looks very different to you. It’s not just a bunch of mysterious things happening.”

Comments

2 Responses to “A biologist’s ode to his mother”

  1. ararechan says:

    I love this! And hope this spreads the word about the power of the mitochondria… Everyone’s mitochondria is mommy-based! I remember learning that in school and thought that was sooooo awesome!

    thank you for sharing, thingamababy-dad.

    May 13th, 2010 at 12:28 am

  2. Jackie says:

    This is awesome. I’m a middle school science teacher and I’ll definitely share this with my students!

    May 13th, 2010 at 4:57 am