The Biology Behind the Fertility Clinic Meltdown

0000-0002-8715-2896 The spindle apparatus is among the most elegant structures in a cell, quickly self-assembling from microtubules and grabbing and aligning chromosomes so that equal sets separate into the two daughter cells that result from

Can Liquid Biopsies Compete with Scopes and Scans in Cancer Diagnosis?

0000-0002-8715-2896 March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to bring up the value of colonoscopies and mammograms. These procedures may seem old school for old folks, but they save lives – more

Rare Disease Week Through a New Lens: Having a Common Disease, Breast Cancer

0000-0002-8715-2896 It’s Rare Disease Week, and this year I’m thinking about it in a new way. My experience with breast cancer has been so different from the diagnostic odysseys that rare disease families traverse. While

Tracking RNA to Pinpoint Time of Death: Better Than Bugs?

0000-0002-8715-2896 DNA is a persistent molecule. Genome sequencing is possible for creatures as ancient as mummies and mammoths. But the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules that translate a gene’s information into a specific protein are more ephemeral,

From Blue Lights to Gene Therapy: The Intriguing History of Crigler-Najjar Syndrome

0000-0002-8715-2896 Seeing Crigler-Najjar syndrome among this week’s news releases announcing upcoming gene therapy clinical trials conjured immediate images of an Amish farmhouse with a spooky blue glow emanating from an upstairs bedroom, where a small

CRISPR Gene Editing of Neurons in Prader-Willi Syndrome

0000-0002-8715-2896 I’m happy to see that fears about using CRISPR to edit human genes have dampened over the past year, but it’s still fun perusing the hyperbolic headlines: “They’re going to CRISPR people. What could

White Supremacy: The Dark Side of Eugenics

  Whenever I work on a new edition of my human genetics textbook and reach the section on eugenics, at the end of an evolution chapter, I’m relieved that it’s history. But this summer, as

Gene Therapy: Hoopla and Hurdles

0000-0002-8715-2896 Today I’m giving an invited lecture at Georgia College, “Gene Therapy: A Forever Fix”? I’ve given the talk many times, since my book The Forever Fix was published in 2012, but this is the first

Wolf Evolution and “Settled Science”

0000-0002-8715-2896 Are the red and eastern wolves separate species, or hybrids with coyotes? And what has that got to do with climate change? Actually a lot, in illustrating what scientific inquiry is and what it

Spinach Genome Reveals a Living Fossil

Imagine being spinach. Sidelined in the produce section of a supermarket, bagged and bunched into a sad uniformity mere feet from the regal, multihued heirloom tomatoes; the purple, orange, and cream-colored cauliflowers; the myriad types