Stochastic gene expression and Prussian cavalry kicked by horses

Now this is morbidly entertaining. Apparently our understanding of Poisson processes, such as many of the events involved in gene expression, are derived from a study of fatal encounters with horses in the Prussian cavalry:

“Effects of Molecular Memory and Bursting on Fluctuations in Gene Expression”, Juan M. Pedraza and Johan Paulsson:

Similar Poisson statistics have been observed in a wide range of physical systems, starting with Bortkewitsch’s classic study on the number of Prussian cavalry officers kicked to death by horses (12).

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