What Makes a Pretty Face? The Biological Basis of Beauty

Poet and philosophical essayist Kahlil Gibran wrote in the early 20th century, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart” [1]. However, a number of recent studies are building a scientific case against this statement, claiming that beauty resides not in the heart, but in the evolution of elements of the face and brain. The …

Chemzymes, Challenging Nature: How Artificial Enzymes Are Becoming Nature’s Counterparts

Enzymes were discovered as early as the nineteenth century, [15] when Eduard Buchner extracted the enzyme responsible for the fermentation of sugars from yeast into alcohol. Besides earning him the Nobel Prize, Buchner’s work began the process of elucidating the diverse functions of enzymes, thousands of which have since been identified [12]. They allow us to do everything from digestion …

NASA’s Life changing Arsenic Organism?

NASA held a press conference on December 2, 2010, about their discovery of a bacterium researchers claimed was able to use arsenic, instead of phosphorous, as part of its DNA backbone. This press conference was extremely well advertised and promised the existence of something extraterrestrial. But the organism in question, GFAJ-1, is far from extraterrestrial and can be found on …

Stem Cell Research: Effects of the Patenting Landscape

Ever since stem cell research began in the late 1900’s, the field has been fraught with a variety of issues including bioethics, funding, and general skepticism. The debate on stem cells has been unrelenting, and policies on the field are usually contentious topics during political campaigns. Apart from bone marrow transplantation [1], all other potential stem cell treatments are either …

Epigenetics: What It Means and Why You Should Care

Fundamental shifts in the way we understand our world and ourselves are rare, and when they do happen it is often with uproar. When discovery of the DNA double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 showed us that all of nature was bound together by a common molecular mechanism, it was assumed that the information held by …