The Night before Christmas in a Cell
(found at the AP Bio list-serv)
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cell,
Not a creature was stirring, not even an organelle.
The chromosomes were hung in nucleus with care,
In hopes that mitosis would soon take place there.
The genes were all nestled and snug in their beds,
While cells in their pj’s and vacuoles of sap,
Had just settled down for their Interphase nap.
Then in the nucleus there arose such a clatter,
The chromosomes sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
They flew from the nucleoplasm in less than a flash,
Hit the nucleolus and made quite a crash.
The light on the center of the newly formed cell
Gave the excitement of metaphase to the objects beheld.
Then what to the scientist’s eye should appear,
But a division – how odd!- with a haploid now here.
With a nod, he said, “This is strange for mitosis.”
Then he knew in a moment it must be meiosis.
More rapid than eagles his excitement came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now eggs! Now sperms! Now X’s and Y’s!
On, diploids! On, haploids! On, Gametes and XY’s!
To the top of the cell! To the top of the ball!
Now dashaway! dashaway! dashaway all.
Now into the middle the chromosomes flew,
With a sleigh full of Genes and DNA too.
And then in a twinkling they precisely did start,
The duplicating and changing of each little part.
As the scientist moved his head and was turning around,
Suddenly meiosis came with a bound.
They were all double up from their head to their feet
And spread through the cell in one great sheet.
And their outside were all mingled with bluish and green;
A bundle of colors was all that was seen.
The strands how they twinkled, Their movements how merry!
The reds were like roses and red as a cherry!
The small bits of black were like that of a crow,
And the white on the ends was as white as the snow.
The strands, still held by the centromere,
Were through crossing-over, but still very near;
Each part looked to him like a little round belly,
That would shake, if it could, like a bowl full of jelly.
They were chubby and plump, a right set of each,
And he sighed when he saw them, for none he could reach.
A quick divide and untwist of a strand
Soon let him know he’d seen nothing so grand.
They stopped once again, but went straight to work,
And filled all the new cells, then turned with a jerk,
And laying the membrane ‘round the nuclear glob,
And giving a nod, they finished their job.
They sprang to their sides, their teams gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But he heard them exclaim as they went out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”