By Daniel Erenstein, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ‘19 Author’s Note: In my Writing in Science (UWP 104E) course, Dr. Brenda Rinard assigned us a review of a classic book in science. My interests in social history and the genetics of disease inspired me to read Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History. The following book review of The Gene is intended for undergraduate biology majors at UC Davis and beyond. I wrote this review to persuade my peers of the book’s instructional and thought-provoking value. My hope, too, is that readers of this review are encouraged by the pursuit of knowledge presented in The Gene’s stories to transform their passion for science into future innovations.
by Bukre Coskun, Cell Biology ‘18 Author’s Note: I became interested in the immune system and the role of the thymus after taking an immunology class where I learned about how T-cells are distributed throughout our body. I wanted to explore this subject more after learning that the thymus, an organ that is integral to the production of T-cells, atrophies after puberty and eventually becomes inactive. Here, I review a publication that describes how the concentration of T-cells in our body changes as we age.
By: Anna Kirillova, Cell Biology, ‘19 Author’s Note: “This article was brought to my attention in my Human Genetics class (MCB 162) when we were discussing novel methodologies for diagnosis of fetal trisomies (Down Syndrome). The purpose of this review is to highlight how basic biology can translate into significant advancements in disease diagnosis. I hope that the reader will be intrigued by the new genetic technologies and will proceed onto reading the original research article using this review as a guide.”
By Wren Greaney, History major, Biological Sciences & Community Development minor, ’17 Author’s Note: “I became interested in the impact of epigenetics after reading an article about the effects of environmental pollution on generations beyond the population subjected to the pollution. So much focus in human biology is placed on genetics; it is fascinating that a closely related and significant topic exists that is unique from genetics itself. As epigenetic research progresses, I think it will find a large role in advancing healthcare as well as our understandings about humans’ biological identities.”
By Rachel Hull Author’s note When I began my research for this piece, I was primarily interested in the controversy over the fairly new bill in the United States requiring labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Little did I know that as I was gathering my sources, a new GMO dispute would emerge, this one revolving around bioengineered non-browning apples. Thus I switched my focus from the bill to the arrival of these apples to stores across the U.S. — an arrival that means an investigation into the history and science behind genetically engineered food products is even timelier than I originally thought.
By Mor Alkaslasi, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ’16 Author’s Note: “I chose to write a review about this book because I kept finding myself telling my professors and peers about it. As a student in a scientific discipline to which genetics and DNA are crucial, I feel that this book is a notable chronicle of the scientific process and of one of the most groundbreaking discoveries of the past century. I hope that this review serves to encourage anyone with an interest in science to read this book, or at least to realize the book’s importance in the scientific community.”
By Rayan Kaakati, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Being born female automatically registers you in a game of Russian roulette: one out of eight women will have invasive breast cancer during their lives. Breast cancer is a disease that starts in the tissues of the breast and is statistically fatal for about one in thirty-six women (Breast Cancer Facts), but that does not mean it is a walk in the park for its survivors or even for women who end up not developing the disease.
Exciting, new gene therapy treatments for breast cancer are on the verge of making a breakthrough. With proper funding, these procedures could reduce the need for the surgical removal of organs. By Rayan Kaakati, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Being born female automatically enters one in a game of Russian roulette: About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime; for American women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Breast cancer is a disease that starts in the tissues of the breast and is statistically fatal for one in thirty-two women (Breast Cancer Facts). Many women, throughout recorded history, have succumbed to this malignant disease. Rapid advancements […]
By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology ‘15 The genomes of male and female mammals differ by one chromosome. The Y chromosome is only present in males, and is responsible for initiating the physiological and morphological differences between the sexes. This has not always been the case though; at one point, the X and Y were identical, and over time the Y chromosome began to differentiate from the X chromosome and shrink in size. The Y chromosome today only has 20 genes, whereas the X chromosome has over 1,000 genes.
By Marisa Sanchez, Genetics ’15 Most people know that poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking as an adult can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type II diabetes. However, research over the past couple of decades has shown that risk for CVD and type II diabetes could begin as early as prenatally through adverse exposures, such as overnutrition and placental insufficiency. Some mechanisms involved in determining risk for CVD and Type II diabetes are oxidative stress, inflammation, lipotoxicity, and epigenetics.