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Henrietta Lacks: An Abbreviated Revolutionary

What do the polio vaccine, humans in space, the cosmetic industry, and nuclear bombs have in common? If you answered that they all involved the use of HeLa cells, congratulations: you are correct. If you think “HeLa” is gibberish, I suggest that you continue reading to learn how one woman revolutionized not only science, but also the efficacy of societal …

Optogenetics: Illuminating the Inner Workings of the Brain

Optogenetics meets “Three Blind Mice” and the mice become blind no more. Researchers from various institutions, including the University of Southern California (USC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have worked together and succeeded in restoring vision to blind mice [1]. In April of 2011, a paper channeling their breakthrough was published in the journal Molecular Therapy [2]. It …

Evolution of the Primate Brain: What Makes Us Human?

Darwin’s famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 1831 formed the foundation of the theory of evolution [1]. Since then, scientists have applied this theory to investigate the diversity and relationship between species. Although Darwin’s theory of evolution states that humans evolved from primates, the definition of cognitive function and consciousness was not explained clearly. According to the Cambridge Declaration …

Scientific Fights, or How Geneticists Have Made Use of Molecular Competition?

Do battles take place in nature? Of course! Plants fight for access to the sun, wild animals wrestle with carcasses in a struggle for the biggest bite, and parasites are advantageously equipped to exploit their hosts, who in turn attempt to withstand the parasites. Hosts, on the other hand, have cells – like eosinophils in humans – that specialise in …

Pitch perfect drugs: A little off-key?

Ella Fitzgerald is believed to have had such perfect pitch that her band tuned up to the sound of her voice. Aged seven, Mozart impressed audiences by naming the note of a pocket watch strike. Four-year-old Mariah Carey sang back pitch-perfect notes to her mother [1]. Musicians in every genre, including Beethoven, Michael Jackson, Chopin and Stevie Wonder, have had …

The Three Parent Baby Phenomenon

Is it an innovative method that will prevent diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or a threat to humanity? Scientists have thoroughly debated the three-parent-baby phenomenon, especially since the United Kingdom became the first country to legalize mtDNA transfer in February 2015 [1]. The term “three-parent-babies” refers to infants born through an in-vitro fertilization where the mitochondria are …