A commenter over at Abel Phuckwit's had something remarkably ignorant to say about the fact that Chalfie shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry this year, based on Chalfie's lab being the first to express GFP heterologously in a cell-specific pattern in a metazoan:
Can anyone tell me what did Chalfie do to deserve this recognition? Prasher spent years searching for the GFP gene precisely to see if it would serve as a fluorescent tracer of genes and proteins in organisms other than the jellyfish. When he is almost there, his funding is not renewed and his lab shuts down, so he contacts Chalfie to have the last step (expression in bacteria and eukaryotic cells) done. Chalfie cannot do it himself, but asks competent members of his well funded lab to do it. A few weeks later this is done. Chalfie puts himself first in the author list (even though he has not conceived the project or done the experiments) and gets the credit and a Nobel Prize. For what? Self promotion?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!! There is so much ingnorance of how biomedical science works packed into that paragraph!!!!!!
The scientists in Chalfie's lab who physically performed the experiments were a technician and an early-stage graduate student working under Chalfie's direction and mentorship. Prasher may have had the idea to express GFP in heterologous organisms, including in cell-specific pattern in a multicellular eukaryote. The technician and graduate student may have physically made the transgenic construct, injected the worms, and photographed the fluorescent images.
Ideas are a dime a fucking dozen, and making transgenic constructs, injecting worms, and taking fluorescence photographs were routine at the time. But Chalfie was the intellectual driving force behind making the shit fucking happen.
I am not saying that Prasher wouldn't have merited sharing the Nobel were it not limited to three people, but Chalfie clearly deserves it. The tech and grad student were carrying out Chalfie's instructions. Chalfie was the first-author and Prasher the last because he and Prasher rightfully shared the two most prominent positions in the author list.
UPDATE: More wackaloonery from Phuckwit's commenters:
The fluorescent thing happened because the grad student and the tech were carrying out Prasher's instructions given to Chalfie: to express the GFP gene in bacteria and animal cells. Chalfie facilitates the research by providing the resources (a couple of months of work from two of his students and technicians) to have this done. He deserves credit for having recognized the potential of Prasher's project and for providing a few resources to have it concluded. Is that enough for a Nobel? By that measure, the Nobel should go to the American Cancer Society review members who funded Prasher's project to begin with. Serously, the Nobel should go to Prasher.
Carrying out Prasher's instructions!?!?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
What Prasher had was an idea. Chalfie's group made it happen. You don't get Nobel Prizes for having ideas.