Tag Archives: genetics

Epigenetics and Intergenerational Health

By Wren Greaney, History major, Biological Sciences & Community Development minor, ’17

Author’s Note: “I became interested in the impact of epigenetics after reading an article about the effects of environmental pollution on generations beyond the population subjected to the pollution. So much focus in human biology is placed on genetics; it is fascinating that a closely related and significant topic exists that is unique from genetics itself. As epigenetic research progresses, I think it will find a large role in advancing healthcare as well as our understandings about humans’ biological identities.”

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The Past, Present, and Future of Genetically Modified Organisms

By Rachel Hull

Author’s note

When I began my research for this piece, I was primarily interested in the controversy over the fairly new bill in the United States requiring labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Little did I know that as I was gathering my sources, a new GMO dispute would emerge, this one revolving around bioengineered non-browning apples. Thus I switched my focus from the bill to the arrival of these apples to stores across the U.S. — an arrival that means an investigation into the history and science behind genetically engineered food products is even timelier than I originally thought.

Continue reading The Past, Present, and Future of Genetically Modified Organisms

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

By Mor Alkaslasi, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ’16

Author’s Note:

“I chose to write a review about this book because I kept finding myself telling my professors and peers about it. As a student in a scientific discipline to which genetics and DNA are crucial, I feel that this book is a notable chronicle of the scientific process and of one of the most groundbreaking discoveries of the past century. I hope that this review serves to encourage anyone with an interest in science to read this book, or at least to realize the book’s importance in the scientific community.” Continue reading The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

May the Odds Ever be in Your Favor

By Rayan Kaakati, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

Being born female automatically registers you in a game of Russian roulette: one out of eight women will have invasive breast cancer during their lives. Breast cancer is a disease that starts in the tissues of the breast and is statistically fatal for about one in thirty-six women (Breast Cancer Facts), but that does not mean it is a walk in the park for its survivors or even for women who end up not developing the disease. Continue reading May the Odds Ever be in Your Favor

A Breakthrough in Breast Cancer Treatment

 Exciting, new gene therapy treatments for breast cancer are on the verge of making a breakthrough. With proper funding, these procedures could reduce the need for the surgical removal of organs.

By Rayan Kaakati, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

Being born female automatically enters one in a game of Russian roulette: About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime; for American women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics).

Breast cancer is a disease that starts in the tissues of the breast and is statistically fatal for one in thirty-two women (Breast Cancer Facts). Many women, throughout recorded history, have succumbed to this malignant disease. Rapid advancements in research have been very promising for cancer cell-targeting medications and for gene modification techniques.

Medicine in the twenty-first century is still resorting to what the ancient Chinese and Arab doctors used to practice: “If cancerous, cut it out if possible,” or in current-day terms, order a “lumpectomy” or a “mastectomy” (if the entire breast is to be removed). In recent years, a toxic chemo “smoothie” and an intensive radiation regimen have been added, coupled with hormone therapy.  While these medical procedures are credited with saving thousands of lives, they are still primitive compared to current, promising research works.

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Origin of the Y Chromosome

By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology ‘15

The genomes of male and female mammals differ by one chromosome. The Y chromosome is only present in males, and is responsible for initiating the physiological and morphological differences between the sexes. This has not always been the case though; at one point, the X and Y were identical, and over time the Y chromosome began to differentiate from the X chromosome and shrink in size. The Y chromosome today only has 20 genes, whereas the X chromosome has over 1,000 genes. Continue reading Origin of the Y Chromosome

Prenatal Exposures and Risk for Chronic Diseases Later in Life

By Marisa Sanchez, Genetics ’15

Most people know that poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking as an adult can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type II diabetes. However, research over the past couple of decades has shown that risk for CVD and type II diabetes could begin as early as prenatally through adverse exposures, such as overnutrition and placental insufficiency. Some mechanisms involved in determining risk for CVD and Type II diabetes are oxidative stress, inflammation, lipotoxicity, and epigenetics. Continue reading Prenatal Exposures and Risk for Chronic Diseases Later in Life