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Roslin science in verse

Poems by Roslin scientists about our research on viruses, chickens, bees, genome sequencing and more for World Poetry Day.

To celebrate World Poetry Day, scientists at The Roslin Institute have written a series of poems about research conducted at the Institute.

For further information about this work, please refer to the “Related links” section at the bottom of this page.

A mega virus


In our lab there is quite a bias,

Against cytomegalovirus.

“Cyto” means cell,

And “mega,” big as hell,

This massive disease does inspire us!



It hurts kids by foetal infection,

And causes organ rejection.

With disease in spades,

Like sight loss in AIDS,

You will understand our objection!

- By Alex Brown

The genetics of bird flu

Dr Jacqueline Smith with avian

There was a young chicken named Stu

Who really did not want the flu

So I study his genes

To see what it means

When compared to his ducky friend, Hugh

- By Dr Jacqueline Smith

One side female and one side male

Sam the chicken with gynandromorphy

There once was a chicken named Sam,

Who appeared half-cock and half-hen!

This gynandromorphy

Is certainly worthy,

Of in depth study at Roslin!


The determination of sex,

In chickens, is rather complex!

Not just hormonal,

Nor chromosomal,

It seems there’s some local effects!

- By Alex Brown

Genome sequencing

genome sequencing

It’s a metaphor, you see.

A pig or a chicken or a human

is a sequence, is a code-script,

is a four-dimensional unfolding


is itself and no-one else.

It’s complicated, we say,


and keep turning,

new page, new cipher.

- By Dr Martin Johnsson

Bee health


There was infectious disease

Adding to the death of bees!

With Institute hives,

And work 9-to-5,

We might put the Queen at ease!

- By Alex Brown

Related links

New study identifies key molecule for virus replication

Gene study set to investigate how flu jumps species

Dr Jacqueline Smith on the genetics of birds

A new high quality reference genome for water buffalo

Gene study boosts bid to keep British bees safe from disease