Enter Fun CRISPR Backronym Contest: $50 Prize

CRISPR backronym contestUpdate: you can also enter our contest on Twitter using the hashtag #CRISPRback.

Do you like contests, words, science, and cash?

Enter our new contest.

It’s a backronym contest for CRISPR.

The author of the best backronym will win a $50 prize paid by me and fame of course as the winner.

The judges will be WSJ columnist Ben Zimmer, Senior Editor at MIT Tech Review Antonio Regalado, and myself.

A backronym is like an acronym, but flipped around in the sense that you choose words to fit the existing letters that together make up an existing acronym word. For more backronym background check out Ben’s recent excellent piece on CRISPR.

Wikipedia lists some funny examples including NASA’s COLBERT treadmill and Arby’s creating “Amerca’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!” after it already had the name Arby’s, chosen for some other reason.

CRISPR is already an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

But that’s a mouthful, not very fun and tough to try to remember.

So what if CRISPR didn’t really stand for those complicated words “Clustered…etc etc”? What if each word of CRISPR was memorable and together they made some interested meaning?

In that spirit, make a backronym for CRISPR by choosing clever new words for C, R, I, S, P, and R.

For instance, as a backronym CRISPR could stand for one of these:

  • Creative Reinterpretations In Scientific Public Relations
  • Can Researchers Initiate Sane Patent Rules

Update: Or it could be something more scientific.

Fire away by sending your CRISPR backronyms to me at knoepfler@ucdavis.edu or leaving them here on this blog post as a comment. The backronym entries must be original and not offensive.

The deadline is a week from today on February 16th at midnight pacific time.

Recommended weekend reading on stem cells & science

I try to catch up on my science reading over the weekends and evenings. Here’s my recommended weekend reading on stem cells & science.

Did I miss anything especially cool? Let me know in the comments.

Direct reprogramming of skin cells into insulin-producing cells. I love direct reprogramming.

Healios and Athersys Enter Into Regenerative Medicine Partnership. Can they together create regen med success?

National honor for helping “the blind see” comes from CIRM blog.

human animal chimeras

Fun piece on CRISPR language by Ben Zimmer. ‘Crispr’ Breaks Out Of the Lab. If you don’t know what a backronym is, you should be interested in learning more.

Big claims here for zero off targets for a next gen CRISPR system. Zero is a very small number, eh?

The gut microbiome of the 5,000 year old frozen dude turn out to be a goldmine of sorts of info. Nice piece by Carl Zimmer, Ben’s brother. OK, what did these two brothers who are unusually great writers eat while growing up? Wheaties? 

George Church on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Wonder what Letterman would think of George’s Top 10 List for genes with interesting phenotypes in humans? See my interview with Church for that list and a lot more interesting perspectives.

Human-animal chimeras, Antonio Regalado, tells us in a nifty article are currently gestating on farms (image above from that piece).

Ed Yong writes that CRISPR’s most exciting applications are in gene transcriptional regulation (admittedly a cool area) rather than in genetic modification. Great piece, but I disagree with the superlative.