Category: Molecular Biology

Buzzing about Modified Mosquito Behavior

You know that characteristic buzzing and that itchy feeling that comes with a mosquito bite.  As you scratch your new bite, you may wonder exactly why mosquitoes are so attracted to you in the first place.  The female Aedes aegypti mosquito needs protein from blood to lay her eggs....

The Genetic Origins of Cancer

In 2016, an estimated 595,690 people died from cancer in the United States. That’s a little less than the population of Boston. New advancements in treatment have lowered the cancer death toll, but we still have a long way to go. Part of what makes cancer so hard to...

2017 Nobel Prize for Circadian Rhythm

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Michael Young, Dr. Jeffrey Hall, and Dr. Michael Rosbash for the discovery of the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms. Because I’m not on the nobel prize selection committee, I can’t tell you exactly why they picked this...

Tanning Without the Sun

Whenever I go to the beach I have to slather on the sunblock and hide under an umbrella, and even then I still sometimes get burnt. UV exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Although everyone should take proper precautions to limit their exposure, people with lighter skin...

How We Fit 2 Meters of DNA in Our Cells

Each cell in the human body has 2 meters of DNA. 2 meters is a little more than 6 feet 5 inches which is about the height of Michael Jordan. But how do we fit 1 Michael Jordan’s worth of DNA into a cell nucleus that is 1/50th the...

The Trouble with Genetic Diversity – Part 2 – Cancer!

In 2016, over 1.5M cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and about 600,000 people died from the disease. To put that into perspective, 600,000 is the number of people that would fit in 6.5 Rose Bowl Football Stadiums at capacity.  There are a lot of factors that...

The Trouble with Genetic Diversity – Part 1

What do antibiotic resistance, the many colors of butterflies, and the fact that life still exists on this planet all have in common? Genetic Diversity! Genetic diversity is awesome! It’s what allows us to all be a little different and to overcome any obstacle that comes our way! But genetic...

How Fish Adapt to Darkness

There are millions of examples of plants and animals adapting to their environment. Need to blend in? Change your coloring. Need to crack a different kind of nut? Change your beak. But while we have lots of examples of adaptation, we rarely have the ability to look at what...