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Open Access Comment

The bishop and the actress

Mark A Jobling

Author Affiliations

Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

Investigative Genetics 2012, 3:27  doi:10.1186/2041-2223-3-27

Published: 24 December 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

It was J.B.S. Haldane who once irreverently declared that ‘even the Archbishop of Canterbury is 65% water’. As it happens, his grace is also about 1% DNA, a fact that some elevated clergy are apparently reluctant to acknowledge. One bishop opined to a colleague of mine: ‘Of course, DNA doesn’t actually exist, does it…’ He seemed to regard the double helix like the Holy Spirit - a somewhat intangible and metaphorical thing. Since many bishops are members of the House of Lords of the UK Parliament and play a role in passing legislation, including rulings about genetics, this is a disturbing attitude. My colleague’s decisive response was to corral a bevy of bishops (probably not the standard collective noun, but happily alliterative nonetheless) into the laboratory to prepare some very tangible DNA from bananas.