Field of Science

My creative contributions to the Festive Tree of Life

Last week I got a thick padded envelope from the Wellcome Trust. My colleagues were a bit surprised... I told them it was a grant, and well it kind of was, only not wads of cash, but lumps of modelling clay!

As part of their Festive Tree of Life project, the Wellcome trust sent out free packs of colourful modelling clay in the run up to the festive season. The idea is that you make science-inspired decorations and either hang them on their physical Christmas tree if you're somewhere in the vicinity, or post them on the Festive Tree of Life Flicker page.

I had a fun afternoon the other day making my decorations. Here they are:



Ribosome, with three tRNAs and EF-Tu. The pink thing is supposed to be mRNA, while the string is the nascent polypeptide chain coming out the exit tunnel... scale is overrated anyway.

The clay started to dry up by the time I got to the ribosome, and got less sticky and more tricky to deal with. After a few hours, the tRNAs fell off, and the subunits have now almost dissociated. All of this in the absence of termination and ribosome recycling factors too!

Happy holidays!

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