Tag: genetics

  • The Viruses Within

    One of the most startling findings from sequencing the human genome is that humans aren’t entirely human. Approximately 8% of our DNA is viral, the result of ancient viruses invading our cells and inserting their DNA into our genomes. These insertions are scattered throughout our genomes and are primarily the remnants of a family of […]

  • Understanding Molecular Biology Part II – DNA Replication (If you missed Part I, check it out before going on to Part II below.)

    As a cell grows and gets ready to divide in two, its DNA must duplicate so that each new daughter cell receives a complete genome. To do this, the double-stranded DNA of each chromosome separates, and every single strand is copied to regenerate the double-stranded forms. This copying process requires many cellular proteins that aggregate […]

  • Viruses and Gene Therapy

    There are around 6000 known genetic disorders that cause health problems with the number continuing to grow as more are discovered each year. The clinical effects can vary from just an increased risk for disease (e.g. breast cancer and BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations) to an inevitably fatal condition (e.g. progeria). Many of the more frequently […]

  • Move Over COVID, Influenza Is Coming to Town

    Seasonal influenza sweeps around the world year after year infecting millions of people across the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In a typical year, influenza causes 30-40 million cases in the United States with an average of 37,000 deaths per year from 2010-2019. However, because of the COVID-19 precautions (masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and cancellation of […]

  • Human Gene Editing – Is the Future Now?

    Many human diseases are the result of genetic errors, commonly called mutations. You can think of the four nucleotides (A, C, T, and G) that comprise our DNA as the letters of our genetic alphabet with these nucleotide letters making up our genes which are the “words” of our genome. Mutations result from changes in […]

  • The Genetics of Cancer

    Cancer – that dreaded and mysterious disease that manifests in so many diverse ways and affects nearly everyone in some way or another. As different as leukemia might seem from prostate cancer or breast cancer, these three and all other cancers are fundamentally genetic disorders. One of the stunning discoveries of the 1970s was the […]