Digging for DNA: Ancient genomes can illuminate the past and reframe the present

by Aparna Nathan figures by Abagail Burrus Superheroes aren’t the only ones with riveting origin stories. As humans, where did we come from? How did we populate six continents? For hundreds of years, archaeology has tried to provide the answers by digging up artifacts and piecing together their histories. However, shovels and brushes are now joining forces with test tubes and lab coats. Within the … Continue reading Digging for DNA: Ancient genomes can illuminate the past and reframe the present

From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

by Layla Siraj figures by Rebecca Senft Imagine if you could tell, through some combination of your environment and your genetics, what illnesses you might develop. This could give you the ability to either prevent these illnesses before they even happen or catch and treat the illnesses early enough to prevent long-lasting effects. This reality is one step closer with the release of the UK … Continue reading From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

Six Ways Our Cells Can Turn Against Us

by Catherine Weiner figures by Elayne Fivenson Every cell in our bodies is constantly on the edge of danger. Our DNA, the molecular blueprints that tell our cells how to function, brought us to life. But it is also just one error away from catastrophe. Our cells are constantly fighting to preserve this fragile balance, for if they fail, they send us down a path … Continue reading Six Ways Our Cells Can Turn Against Us

Finding What Sticks

by Christopher Gerry Our DNA influences our height, eye color, affinity for sky diving and other extreme thrills, sleep habits, disease risk factors, and more. It’s no surprise, then, that scientists have found another job for our reliable genetic ledger: as a tool to aid the discovery of new medicines. The hope is that these DNA-based tools will enable researchers to find better starting points … Continue reading Finding What Sticks