PCR is the engine that runs most of molecular biology, and so its inventor, Kerry Mullis, deserves his Nobel Prize and the acclaim that comes with it. As you navigate your way through the countless failures that are inevitable in science, it may be comforting to remember that even Nobel laureates do not get it right all the time.
One lesson that scientists can learn from Mullis is to stay out of the fashion industry. In the early 90s he cofounded a company called Stargene to sell jewelry containing amplified DNA from famous individuals ranging from Mick Jagger to Abraham Lincoln. If the jewelry was not popular, trading cards and pens were also considered.
Unfortunately the idea was not quite as robust as PCR and did not work nearly as well. This may be something to consider before you act on your next maverick idea. However, if you think jewelry containing GeneStones could be successful, the claim to the trademark for the Stargene company logo has been abandoned, so someone could make use of the shooting star with the trailing double helix.
Author: Brendan Owens is Assistant Manager of Technical Support at IDT.