Category Archives: genetics

January 30

Love in the Time of PCR

(Image credit: CellPress)  Renowned geneticist George Church caused a stir last month with his idea for a brand new dating app, in which users submit their DNA for sequencing as a critical part of their profile.  Church’s app, “digiD8”, doesn’t connect tech-savvy singles who love all-things-90’s, as the name implies, but rather matches users based […]

January 09

Can we inherit family trauma?

The epigenetics behind “generational trauma” [En español] The 23 and Me craze has officially reached my family. Both of my parents were born in Poland, so the results haven’t been too surprising, but as we watched the site track generations of family history from a single spit sample, new questions came up. So when my […]

December 19

Genomic Imprinting: A Genetic Custody Dispute for Your Brain

During this holiday season, we would do well to reflect on what we’ve inherited from our parents. You might have your mother’s sense of humor but your father’s sense of direction. You and your Ma might share the same tastes in music, but you prefer your Pa’s tastes for ice cream. Although heavily influenced by […]

September 19

How long have we been sleeping?

“J’ai peur du sommeil comme on a peur d’un grand trou, Tout plein de vague horreur…” In his phenomenal ‘Les fleurs du mal’ (‘Flowers of Evil’), Baudelaire promenades through the darkness of the night and with his characteristic gloomy brush, paints sleep as ‘a great hole’ that he fears. This myth surrounding sleep as a […]

August 22

Is evolution the missing link to understanding mental health?

The human brain has been shaped over hundreds of thousands of years, with evolution selecting for traits that helped our species survive and thrive. So why do we still have so many genes that make us struggle? Why did our remarkable cognitive capacity come with such a susceptibility to disorder?

May 09

Uncle Syd and His Worms

[En español] Anybody, who does biological research using a model organism, especially those using an invertebrate, has quite invariably come across a certain prevalent hotchpotch of disbelief, cynicism and a reasonably uncomfortable amount of derision in the minds of their peers about the tiny creatures that they use to study biology.  “So, these flies really […]

April 25

Immune to pain: new insights into chronic pain treatment

[En español] Jo Cameron, a Scottish woman in her mid-60s, was seemingly happy and healthy other than a problem with her hip. Now and then, it would give way and prevent her from walking straight. She had brought it up to her doctor, but because she wasn’t in pain, the issue was dismissed. It wasn’t […]

December 20

A Pirate’s Life is NOT for Me: A Deep Dive into Motion Sickness

A few months ago, I spent three and a half anxious hours on a rickety motorboat on western Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika. The cause of my anxiety was not the fact that we were floating over the second deepest freshwater lake in the world in a boat that had already begun to take in some water […]

August 02

Snake Eyes: The Fear That Built Your Brain

Indiana Jones is a quintessential American hero, his fedora, satchel, and whip instantly recognizable around the world. He lives a double life, a scholarly professor of anthropology in public and a globetrotting treasure hunter in private. He defeats the Nazis and always gets the girl, displaying daring and fearlessness, with one notable exception. He has […]

July 26

A Neuroscience Perspective on the Lifelong Consequences of Detaining Kids at the Border

[En español] If you’ve been even partially tuned in to the news over the last few months, you’ve heard about the gut-wrenching separation of children from their parents at the United States border and the detainment centers where these children have been held. You may have seen pictures of young kids in cages, been watching when […]