Arabidopsis — a model plant for artists
Arabidopsis, a model plant, I prefer to call it road side superstar for plant biologist. It grows in every continent and even if you do not want to grow it at all, you will see it on your walkway. Much of our known genetic circuits were possible due to its generous contribution. A smaller genome with a wide range of gene sets to study every possible pathway.
I think myself as an ambassador of Arabidopsis. My doctorate research was entirely dependent on that tiny un-edible plant. My friends used to mock me as I do not have to go to field and entire experiments were going inside the lab. I took that insult and turned it into a sarcastic one. I named my blog Aribidopsis (Arif + Arabidopsis)! Ever since, it is Aribidopsis. Not only my blog, the Twitter handle is also @aribidopsis! Now, it became a brand and sort of my pseudo name as well. No more insult sticks with it, rather a sense of pride.
That's not the point I was planning to write in this blog post. I got distracted, because I was planning to have a bowl of ramen for tonight. But, by the time, I settled my experiments, the nearest Japanese restaurant is going to be closed.
Back to the point. Often time, I argue how valuable this tiny plant to grasp the bigger picture. I created a series, Why Arabidopsis Why, to capture all the amazing examples where Arabidopsis provided the fundamental idea. Today, one Tweet came to my attention. One student, Nataliia Kuska, from the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) visited Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid and noticed a famous painting of Saint Anne, The Virgin and The Christ Child — where Arabidopsis was demonstrated at the bottom of the painting. The painting is dated back to 1600's and drawn by one of the students of Leonardo da Vinci.
It's a fascination example of me. Not because, it had been appeared in a famous a painting, but it was noticed by an artist 400 years back. Do you know when the Arabidopsis research kicked off? 1980's. My point is simple and straight forward — it's all about observation. An artists observed and included that neglected plant 400 years back and as a scientists we took 400 years to realize the value of this tiny plant.
The whole argument goes well with the sub-heading of my blog
"Plants are awesome, if you are an observer"