It’s in the Blood- Or Rather, the Genes: A Review of The Gene: An Intimate History

Posted Posted in Book Review

By Gita Mallya, Plant Biology, ‘19   Author’s note: I wrote this piece for my UWP 104E class with Brenda Rinard during Fall Quarter 2017. The assignment was to read a classic book based in science and then to write a review on it. I chose this book because I have always been fascinated by genetics and the study of genes even catalyzed my decision to study biology. Although the review was a class assignment, it gave me the opportunity to explore and think critically about a subject I feel passionately about. I would like the reader to come away with the notion that scientific study is not always as cut and dry as it may seem, and that The Gene is […]

A Review of Personalized Cystic Fibrosis Treatments: Genotype-Phenotype Relationships

Posted Posted in Genetics, Health and Medicine: Literature Reviews

By Daniel Erenstein, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ‘20 Author’s Note: One of the major assignments in my Writing in Science (UWP 104E) course was a literature review on some current topic of scientific interest. The process involved in understanding prior research on a topic and in predicting a field’s future directions was challenging. Along the way, I often found myself lost in a world of complicated scientific jargon. In the end, it was a personal story that provided the inspiration I needed for this article. Worldwide, more than 70,000 people have cystic fibrosis, and there are over 30,000 patients in the United States alone. Mary Frey is one of them, and she chronicles her life alongside Peter, her husband, and […]

Could a DNA Sample Reconstruct a Face?

Posted Posted in Genetics

By Anna Kirillova, Cell Biology, ’19 Author’s Note: I came across facial genetics in one of my classes and immediately decided to write a review about it. To my surprise, the field was not as developed as I’ve expected it to be, but with the rise of facial recognition technologies, this area of research will be growing in the near future. In this review, I explained basic concepts and recent advancements in the field of human facial genetics.

Understanding the Tumultuous Trajectory of a Concept in The Gene

Posted Posted in Book Review, Genetics

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.

The Effect of Aging On Our Immune System: A Review

Posted Posted in Health and Medicine: Literature Reviews

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.

Cell-free DNA Testing as the Next Generation of Cancer Screening

Posted Posted in Genetics

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.”

Epigenetics and Intergenerational Health

Posted Posted in Genetics

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.”

The Past, Present, and Future of Genetically Modified Organisms

Posted Posted in Genetics

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.

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

Posted Posted in Book Review, Genetics, Narrative and Personal Writing

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.”

May the Odds Ever be in Your Favor

Posted Posted in Narrative and Personal Writing

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.