Image credit: Dave Matthews

Conservation spending proven to make a difference

The world is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction event. Species are disappearing at an estimated 1000x the expected normal rate of extinction (roughly 5 species per year). Conservation efforts around the world are trying to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, but they are hindered by the lack of hard evidence linking conservation spending to biodiversity improvements. A team led by University of Oxford researchers … Continue reading Conservation spending proven to make a difference

DNA Methylation

How stress can change your DNA

A first link between chronic stress, genetics, and mental illness has recently observed in mice. Researchers have discovered that the genes of mice exposed to chronic stress change over time. Modifications were most associated with genes related to a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, autism spectrum disorder, and schizophrenia.1-3 How exactly are genetics, stress, and mental illness related? DNA, serves as instructions for cells and is broken up into … Continue reading How stress can change your DNA

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CRISPR 2.0: Genome engineering made easy as A-B-C

CRISPR 2.0 is causing quite the ruckus in the scientific community. Why? Imagine that you had written a note in permanent marker, but later decided you wanted to change a single word. Without the ability to erase, your options would be limited, and further changes might make the note illegible. New CRISPR technologies, or “base editors,” behave as molecular erasers. These molecular erasers enable you to very precisely … Continue reading CRISPR 2.0: Genome engineering made easy as A-B-C

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Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Developing cancer drugs is challenging. Often, scientists will find a drug that kills cancer cells in a petri dish but fails to act on an actual tumor. Ravid Straussman from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Todd Golub from Harvard Medical School think that in situ, bacteria can protect cancer cells from drugs. To test their theory, Staussman and Golub mixed some healthy skin cells with cells from a … Continue reading Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

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Harvard and MIT are making tattoos to monitor your health

Tattoos are often whimsical, traditional, beautiful—but can they also be medical? The Dermal Abyss project, a collaboration of researchers at Harvard and MIT, is trying to develop a tattoo that can monitor an individual’s health. They have already created “bio-ink” capable of fluorescing at different colors in response to certain variables in the body. In theory, a diabetic inked with one of these tattoos would … Continue reading Harvard and MIT are making tattoos to monitor your health

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Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?

Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly brain cancers because it is nearly impossible to destroy the cause of the cancer: cancerous stem cells. However, scientists are using Zika’s preference for stem cells to target and eliminate the cancerous stem cells in adults. The preliminary study shows the viability of this method, but more thorough research and a PR campaign may be necessary before Zika treatments for brain cancer can become standard protocol. Continue reading Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?