The Genetic Role of Left-Handedness

Ellie Teng ’21 90% of the population are right- handed, so what is different about individuals who are left- handed? Handedness was previously known to be partially affected by the genome; twin studies showed that genes account for about 25% of the variation in handedness. Researchers at the University of Oxford sought to connect the genetic difference to areas of the brain that control language. … Continue reading The Genetic Role of Left-Handedness

A Novel Approach to Treating Psychopathy Associated with Huntington’s Disease.

By Snigdha Kanadibhotla ‘21 Characterized by uncontrollable and spastic movements, Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that is estimated to affect about 1 in 10,000 people in the United States (1). HD has pervasive effects that damage neurons in brain regions associated with mobility, emotion, and intellectual capacity leading to symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and difficulty learning. Despite its complex and varied … Continue reading A Novel Approach to Treating Psychopathy Associated with Huntington’s Disease.

Reducing Cancer Metastasis with Gene Target Therapy

Caleb Sooknanan ‘20 Cancer metastasis refers to the spread of cancer cells from an original tumor to another bodily region through a subject’s blood or lymph systems. The possibility of cancer cells entering a subject’s blood stream is mainly dependent upon the motility of cancer cells within the subject’s body. However, more research is needed to understand and detect the genes that account for cancer … Continue reading Reducing Cancer Metastasis with Gene Target Therapy

Investigating Genetic Variation and Selection in Starfish Species Piaster ochraceus

Stephanie Budhan ’21 Extreme environmental disturbances, such as a natural disaster or epidemics, dramatically impact animal population survival. These events have the potential to eliminate entire species, and affect the gene pool or the frequency of certain genes within the population. However, scientists observing these natural disasters and their subsequent effects can be difficult due to their sporadic occurrence. A study conducted by Dr. Lauren … Continue reading Investigating Genetic Variation and Selection in Starfish Species Piaster ochraceus

School Type Does Not Determine Individual Academic Success

By Maryna Mullerman ’20 It is generally thought that students graduating from selective schools have a greater chance at higher levels of academic achievement. A study conducted by Emily Smith-Woolley and researchers from King’s College London investigated the roles of genetics and school selectivity in pupils’ academic success. The study compared the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) test scores of students from state-funded non-selective, … Continue reading School Type Does Not Determine Individual Academic Success

Intelligence in the HTT Gene

By Daniel Walocha ‘19 Huntington’s Disease is caused by a trinucleotide repeat of the HTT gene. The wild type has a repeat ranging from 10 to 35, but beyond 39 repeats causes the disease characterized by significant impairments in the basal ganglia and neurodegeneration. The CAG repeats in the HTT gene cause the production of an abnormally long Huntington protein, which impairs the function of … Continue reading Intelligence in the HTT Gene

Genomic Analysis of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Gene Yang ‘19 Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that infects approximately 90,000 people in the United States each year. This bacteria’s resistance to many common drugs, including penicillin, makes it a rising public health care threat, yet our understanding of MRSA at the genetic level is limited. In order to bridge this gap, scientists at the University of San … Continue reading Genomic Analysis of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Ultraconserved Elements Found to Affect Brain Development

By Marcia-Ruth Ndege ’21 In human embryos, the brain begins to develop during the first trimester of pregnancy. Proper brain development is critical at its early stages and could have detrimental effects if something goes awry. Scientists and researchers have investigated and familiarized themselves with the basics of brain development. A new study has shown that an unexpected participant plays a major role in this … Continue reading Ultraconserved Elements Found to Affect Brain Development

Figure 1. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania investigate the loci responsible for the wide variation of skin pigmentation by studying the genomes of African populations.

Genetics of Skin Pigmentation

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Currently, our understanding of the genes behind skin pigmentation in humans is limited, especially for those of African heritage. Researchers led by Nicholas Crawford, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania investigated the genetic variants behind a wider range of skin colors provided from diverse African populations. Melanin is the pigment that provides the wide range of skin colors seen in the … Continue reading Genetics of Skin Pigmentation

Long Non-Coding RNA’s Role in Drought Resistance

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 With the changing environment due to Global Climate Change, sustaining renewable resources such as crops is more important than ever. The changing climate affects the frequency of droughts and high salinity in fertile lands. These issues motivated researchers to investigate methods of increasing plant resistance to these stresses. Researchers from the Texas A&M Research Center, led by Dr. Qin, were able … Continue reading Long Non-Coding RNA’s Role in Drought Resistance

Figure 1. Human viability depends on many genetic variants, including those of evolutionary importance.

What Affects Human Viability?

By Maryna Mullerman ’20 Human viability is the survival of individuals after birth, and more research is needed to understand how associated genetic factors affect human survival and life expectancy. Dr. Hakhamanesh Mostafavi and researchers at Columbia University in New York developed a method to recognize genetic variants that influence human survival. The proposed method would provide information about human fitness in the environment and … Continue reading What Affects Human Viability?

Figure 1. Scientists from UCLA controlled expression of genes Drp1 and Atg1 in fruit flies to promote breakdown and removal of damaged mitochondria.

Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 The respiratory function of the mitochondrion, the energy producing organelle found in the cell, can decline over time. This is because of how the mitochondrion enlarge and assume a more elongated shape. Typically, that mitochondrion will eventually break down and get removed processes called mitochondrial fission and mitophagy respectively. Accumulation of the ineffective mitochondria and inability to remove them are major … Continue reading Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks