Tag Archives: genetics

June 23

A Genetic Identity Crisis: Mosaicism in the Brain

We carry with us every day trillions of copies of one of the best stories ever written: the human genome. Carefully drafted and edited over 4 billion years, our genome contains all the information necessary, and then some, for making a human being from scratch. Often we think of this recipe book as a monolith: […]

April 21

The Genetic Curse of Fatal Insomnia

Not being able to fall asleep when you want to is frustrating. No matter how tired we are, we all have nights when we just can’t fall or stay asleep. The role of sleep in our everyday health is critical, which is no more apparent than the day after one of those sleepless nights when […]

September 10

Autism Spectrum Disorders; is all about genetics

The basics of ASD genetics Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by repetitive behaviors, language and communication deficits, and restricted interests. ASD has a prevalence of 2% of the population, and is usually diagnosed before age 3. One important aspect of ASD is that it shares a wide number of […]

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 weren’t a complete surprise, but as we watched the site track generations of family history from a single spit sample, new questions came up. When my sisters […]

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?

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 […]

January 10

A Look at CRISPR and the First Genetically-Modified Humans

Cracking Pandora’s Box – New Tools and New Frontiers In November of 2018, Chinese scientist He Jiankui revealed to the world that he had orchestrated the genetic modification and birth of two twin girls in China[1]. Psuedonymed Nana and Lulu, these newborns are the first known human babies to be born following modification of their […]

February 01

A Recipe for the Brain

How confident would you be in making a Victorian Tennis Cake, given a set of ingredients and the recipe? What about with a vague list of instructions instead of a detailed recipe? If you’ve ever watched The Great British Baking Show, this concept is familiar to you as the “technical challenge”. Britain’s best amateur bakers […]

December 28

Machines Comparing Circuitry (or, Understanding Our Uniquely Human Brain)

I became fascinated by the brain because I was – and continue to be – fascinated by humans. Why are we so obsessed with other people’s lives, including (sometimes especially) those whom we’ve never met? How are we able to communicate such complex emotions with a raise of an eyebrow or even just a glance? […]

July 20

Genomes, Circuits, and the Roundworm: C. Elegans as a Model Organism

A nematode can do much to help our understanding of human biology.