Variable Number Tandem Repeats

What is a variable number tandem repeat you might ask?  Well, in the interest of being clear and concise, I’ll give you the Wikipedia definition:

Variable Number Tandem Repeat (or VNTR) is a location in a genome where a short nucleotide sequence is organized as a tandem repeat. These can be found on many chromosomes, and often show variations in length between individuals. Each variant acts as an inherited allele, allowing them to be used for personal or parental identification. Their analysis is useful in genetics and biology research, forensics, and DNA fingerprinting.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Well, because knowledge is power and it never hurts to learn something new.  Other than that, I was writing a story today and the word tandem came up.  It reminded me of the words tandem repeats which for some reason I just always really liked.  It made me think of another word I always liked, replicons.  I used to use these words somewhat frequently, or at least I came across them frequently in association with my work, back in the days when I worked in the oncology department at the hospital, specifically the genetic counseling department.  We did a lot of genetic testing for the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations which are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.  We also did a lot of testing for MLH1 and MSH2 mutations which are associated with Lynch Syndrome and an increased risk for colon cancer.  I have always had a fascination with genetics but over time I found myself spending more and more time wanting to write rather than work anywhere else.

Today, as those words tandem repeats came to mind, it led to thinking about variable number tandem repeats… because I’m weird like that.  I have to say I miss working in genetics.  As much as I love writing, I miss learning and I miss sharing information with people, educating them on genetics and how and when mutations come about and what they mean for the human cell.

In the interest of pursuing what I enjoy in life, because life is too short not to, I will be returning to college to seek a second degree.  Then I will return to working.  Writing will have to, as it was before, be more of a hobby than an everyday pursuit.


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