On advertising

Now, we know that advertisers lie to us. It’s right there in the DNA. But here’s a little competition for you.

Ad in Nature

This is (part of) an advert in this week’s Nature. Can you tell what made me so cross about it?

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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18 Responses to On advertising

  1. Cath Ennis says:

    Oh man, I can’t believe they did that!
    It’s Cat# RC217437

  2. Richard P. Grant says:

    hah hah !
    Nice try πŸ™‚

  3. Jennifer Rohn says:

    Only wusses study telomerase?

  4. Richard P. Grant says:

    Y’know, I’ve been pondering for a while what the actual use of Nature Network itself is (blog post brewing, as ever), and I realize that it can be used to figure out exactly who one is insulting when making off-the-cuff comments like that.

  5. Kyrsten Jensen says:

    The disturbing part about this is that I was able to Google “RC217437” and immediately found out which company did this…
    Love Google-Fu. So why exactly are you mad at OG?

  6. Richard P. Grant says:

    Well… I’ll tell you if nobody guesses.
    A hint: it looks like fraud.

  7. Stephen Curry says:

    hTERT is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP), not just a protein?

  8. Stephen Curry says:

    Oh – you mean that the two lanes are shown as separate images and therefore not necessarily from the same gel. Moveoever, markers not shown properly, though think I may have committed that sin myself. But hey. You can trust me!

  9. Cath Ennis says:

    Oh, it’s just that the two lanes aren’t from the same blot?
    I was trying to decide between quibbling “over-expression of hTERT” when there’s no normal, endogenous level with which to compare it, and lack of a tag-only control vector.
    But mostly I was enjoying seeing how many silly guesses people were going to come up with before you broke and told everyone the answer.

  10. Cath Ennis says:


  11. Richard P. Grant says:

    I don’t think they are from the same blot. They’re different shades. The one on the left is darker. There’s no reason at all to believe that they’re the same blot, been probed in the same way. The one on the right is cropped very close to the bandβ€”if it were the same gel, the experiment they described, why would they do that?
    After all, it’s two different samples and one antibody. That’s pretty basic biochemistry, there.
    And yeah, where’s the tag only vector band?
    There’s one more control I’d want to see too. You’ve probably guessed it already.

  12. Elizabeth Moritz says:

    Is it because they didn’t nicely center that band in the slice they’re showing?
    They need to work on their cropping skills and it makes me wonder what’s hiding on the left side of that band that had to be cropped so closely…

  13. Richard P. Grant says:

    I wonder, I seriously do, if the marketing materials are this badly done, and raise so many questions by implication, whether you’d really want to buy this or any other antibody from this company.

  14. Jennifer Rohn says:

    to play devil’s advocate a little…
    I’ve bought many an antibody from companies with datasheets this dubious, and there’s not much correlation with crap-looking examples and whether the antibody works – often it works just fine. My guess is that they have a huge high-throughput gel with one control and then lots and lots of test lanes, each of which has to be copped and compared to the first control lane. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are hiding anything.

  15. Richard P. Grant says:

    That’s me told, then.

  16. Ken Doyle says:

    Lack of marketing QC for sure, although Jenny is probably on to something. I feel compelled to defend biotech marketing, but I know that stuff like this happens all the time. Not on my watch, though πŸ™‚

  17. Richard P. Grant says:

    Yeah, it seems slack. It is pretty much anti-marketing, isn’t it? I mean, Jenny’s probably right (she always is) but I don’t think scientists should be making excuses for marketeers.
    Antibodies tend to work–because if they don’t you soon find out about it–so showing a blot like that is actually doubly useless. Why bother?

  18. Richard P. Grant says:

    Actually, I can answer my own question: because you will want to see what the size of the antigen is. But this is an anti-tag guy so that doesn’t matter, and as SCurry points out the markers aren’t done right here anyway.

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