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What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks

by Catherine Weiner figures by Michael Gerhardt A decade ago, the idea of analyzing your DNA from the comfort of your own home seemed like science fiction. Tests required several weeks, thousands if not millions of dollars, and a lab of highly specialized PhDs. Today, thanks to technical advances and companies like 23andMe, you can perform this analysis for $199. The U.S. Food and Drug … Continue reading What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks

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Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is commonly characterized with impaired social interaction and communications. The cause of autism still remains unknown, yet theories have been proposed. One theory speculates that exposure to viral element or stress from other cellular dangers can trigger cells’ “danger response”, which involves purines. It is part of the self-defense mechanism but if not regulated properly, the response remains permanently … Continue reading Potential repurposing of sleeping-sickness drug for autism

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The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

As mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides used to control their populations, scientists have been developing new tools. The latest idea: infecting mosquitoes with a fungus genetically engineered to produce arachnid toxins. After infecting the mosquitoes with fungal spores, the bugs showed increase mortality within 2.5 days after exposure and fed less in the days before their death, compared to their healthy counterparts. Continue reading The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus

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Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus

by Steph Guerra figures by Shannon McArdel The Cancer Moonshot is an initiative that was launched by Joe Biden in 2016 with the goal of accelerating cancer research progress by bringing together world-class researchers and institutions in the battle against this disease. Armed with $300 million in startup funding, plus a total of $1.8 billion authorized over the next seven years, the Cancer Moonshot has … Continue reading Cancer Moonshot Musings II: Fusion oncoproteins in focus

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Strength in Numbers: genetic sequencing of large populations is shaping the future of medicine

by Ryan L. Collins figures by Brad Wierbowski Thanks to modern genetics, “precision medicine” is slowly becoming a reality: doctors can perform genetic tests to determine your risk for dozens of diseases, like stroke or liver disease, and can prescribe treatments or therapies tailored to your individual genetic makeup. Yet before doctors can provide you with precision medicine in practice, they first need to understand … Continue reading Strength in Numbers: genetic sequencing of large populations is shaping the future of medicine

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The right reasons for mistrusting science

by Samantha Wong figures by Daniel Utter “Global warming is based on faulty science and manipulated data which is proven by the emails that were leaked.” Alarming words from the most powerful man in the USA, don’t you think? Unfortunately, a Pew Research report revealed that the American public has increasingly echoed this sort of scientific mistrust over the last 5 years. Some part of … Continue reading The right reasons for mistrusting science

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Metal On Mars

A recent NASA mission has discovered that the atmosphere on Mars has many similarities to that of Earth. Metal atoms, contained in dust particles, float down from the solar system and become trapped in the atmosphere of a planet. Energetic particles, for example from the Sun, can then rip electrons from the metal atoms, forming ions. Historically, we haven’t known what happens to these ions. Depending on the specifics of the planet in … Continue reading Metal On Mars