Mr Rouble Tuli is currently undergoing his PhD degree in Shoolini University, Solan (HP)
"In the game of science, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. All that matters is if you actually go beyond your abilities," said Dr Watson, when he was asked regarding his feelings on the discovery of DNA double helix structure. He was a zoologist who had gone beyond his abilities to establish a chemical structure.
DNA had become a very common term in the 1990s, at that time I was doing my schooling in a CBSE affiliated school in Amritsar, Punjab. I remember, how even the pop-stars were singing songs containing DNA as a reference in their lyrics and everyone was in awe with the completion of the Human Genome Project. 1990 was the time when human's victory over nature was the key highlight and everything was so inspiring that my young brain had only one question, "How did they succeed in discovering such a tiny element of life?"
Simultaneously, my education in physics, chemistry and biology was going on and this was when I learnt about biotechnology, a field where biology was blended with technology in order to expose the deepest secrets of nature. Immediately, I was smitten and when I completed my tenth grade, it didn't take me long to decide that I needed to enter medicine field since my grandfather had been a spiritual soul who had often tried to give explanations on life, taking science as a medium and my parents had owned a renowned medical diagnostic centre in the city.
It was during my high school days that the concepts of biology cleared up dramatically in my mind. I remember how I used to spend hours reading the science section in the newspapers and the ever-growing advancements in agricultural techniques (protoplast fusion, cell cultures or inter-generic hybridization) and animal biology understanding (artificial insemination, birth of sheep Dolly, and identification of down's syndrome as a chromosomal disorder) had deeply caught my interest. I knew that if there was anything that I wanted to do in my life, then that was in the field of biotechnology. Soon after, when all my classmates struggled to be an MBBS doctor, I boldly negated that option and opted for a bachelors in biotechnology. I was sure that I didn't want to limit myself with something that has already been discovered; rather I wanted to explore the newer possibilities while taking the existing literature as a reference.
Firm in my opinion, I began learning the techniques of biotechnology in DAV College, Amritsar, which at that time had one of the best-equipped labs in the city. During my three years there, we were made aware with the concepts of recombinant DNA technology and the fact which really fascinated me was how the quick discovery of DNA (which during the 1940s and 1950s was the most sought after molecule) had started a revolution. This revolution was so intense that it appeared as if everyone was talking merely about biotechnology. One evening, my grandfather told me about the "Telomere theory of ageing" which I found so interesting that I wanted to learn more about chromosomes and so chose chromosomal disorders as my final project for my bachelors degree. During one of the days when I was isolating a DNA, just like that, I decided that I would go abroad for my masters.