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Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

A medical team at Johns Hopkins University genetically engineered a common cold virus to deposit a gene when injected into the human eye. This gene codes for a protein that binds to VEGF, another protein whose activity in old age contributes to vision loss (a disease called AMD or wet AMD). This small clinical study’s preliminary results show that just one small dose is potent enough to improve a patient’s vision loss. Continue reading Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future

Spreading of Homo sapiens [Image: created by NordNordWest, release into the public domain]

When did the Americas encounter the first human?

It is widely believed that humans first arrived in the Americas around 13,000 to 15,000 years ago. Discoveries at archeological sites such as Mesa Verde in Chile and Meadowcroft, PA have long supported this view. At a dig in Southern California, possible traces of human activity from over 130,000 years ago have been discovered. Researchers at the site recovered the partial skeleton of a mastodon, an … Continue reading When did the Americas encounter the first human?

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Oak Wood Cross Section

Cross section of oak wood, showing every reason that made an oak tall and strong. The large pores are vessels that are responsible for transporting (more accurately, pumping/pushing) water from the root system to the tip of the tree. The densely packed purple dots are stained lignin in the cells walls. During early wood development, once lignin is deposited in the cell wall, these cells … Continue reading Oak Wood Cross Section

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Holly Wood Tangential Section

Tangential section of wood of Chinese holly. This is how it looks like when you do a cut that’s perpendicular to the radius of the stem. The vertical lines are vessels transporting water from roots to leaves, while the circles are clustered ray cells that function to transport fluids and nutrients radially and laterally (perpendicular to the long axis) within a woody stem. Contributed by … Continue reading Holly Wood Tangential Section

monocot leaf epidermis

Monocot Leaf Epidermis

Microscope image of the epidermis of a spiderwort leaf with well-organized stomata in high density. Stomata (singular stoma) are like little mouths on the leaf surface, specialized in gas-exchange – CO2 enters a plant through them. The opening and closure of stomata are tightly controlled, because when stomata are open, water is escaping from the plant too. Therefore, each plant needs to find a delicate … Continue reading Monocot Leaf Epidermis

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Using your own DNA against you: Bio-control of coral reef pest might be possible

Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) are decimating coral populations along the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists have sequenced COTS genomes in the hopes of turning their own biology against them. Researchers think they have found the peptides the COTS use to communicate with each other. These peptides are released into the water to help the starfish aggregate before spawning events. If true, it’s possible to use these peptides to build several mechanisms for controlling the COTS pests. Continue reading Using your own DNA against you: Bio-control of coral reef pest might be possible

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How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century

by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States has been marked by the brewing storms of racial conflicts. A rise in racial incidents ensued in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s victory in November 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, over 100 bomb threats have been made against Jewish community centers and schools. Trump’s travel ban, signed in … Continue reading How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century