Plasmid Poems and Songs

A tradition of Plasmid Biology Conferences that seems to have lapsed in recent years was reciting or singing or performing plasmid-related poems or songs at the conference dinner.  These were often composed at the meeting to highlight memorable presentations.  The first we have is copied below and others will be added as soon as possible.

Genetic Kapers (Stewart Levy, Don Clewell, Karin Ippen-Ihler and others)

1978, Berlin

When plasmids came into this world

Who’d have known that they would be

A problem for the doctors

And a research grant for me

We see them keep on growing

World widely they abound

Collecting genes like garbage

And passing them around.


When I was just a little gene

Upon the chromosome

A plasmid sat down next to me,

Said: “Don’t be a stay at home.

Excise with me, I have the stuff

My tra genes are intact

The time has come for you to learn

About the mating act.”


I am a lonely pilus

On the surface of the cell

I have a reputation

As a sexy organelle

It’s my good luck I’m not Fin+

I’m always out to play

When I attach, oh what a match

I have a holiday.


I am a special entity

Oh happy, happy me

My life is full of fun and games

And promiscuity

Who else can flit so easily

From one mate to the next

No care about the species

And even less the sex.


I’m still transposon number 10

Though I can’t name my ends

I think I’ll have to sequence them

Before I make amends

Were they once IS3? Oh well,

Until just recently

I guess that for the moment

They’ll be called IS – SC


Illegitimate recombination, transformation

Are just two

Of the acts that we do daily

In and out of each of you

We are nature’s way of giving

Special functions which you’ll use

To survive contamination

In the stuff they call their foods.


Conjugation, penetration, consummation

Oh that’s great

De-repress your inhibition

Find a Mate and aggregate

Now, penetrate the membrane

Right on to the chromosome

If you miss, your just aplasmid

Try to be an episome