The Thousand Dollar Genome Has Arrived!

The first human genome was sequenced about a decade ago, at a cost of around four billion dollars. The results were amazing, showing us that people have a paltry twenty some thousand total genes. We thought we were a lot more complicated than that. We also found that chimps have DNA sequence about 99% identical … Read more

Is it OK to have three parents??

We all have two parents, a mom and a dad, and they each contributed half of our genes. We all learned this in high school biology. It’s that meiosis thing, with reduction divisions making sperm and eggs with only half the normal number of genes, and then their union restoring the full number. But that … Read more

Poop is more therapeutic than antibiotic

In a recent study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine it was shown that in some cases swallowing some poop can actually do you more good than taking a powerful antibiotic. Els van Nood and colleagues were studying patients suffering gut infections caused by a nasty bacteria, Clostridium difficile. These bacteria release toxins … Read more

Chronic Inflammation: The Rich Guy Disease

Chronic inflammation is the modern day silent killer. It promotes the development of many deadly diseases, including cancer (, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes ( So, what is inflammation? Acute, or short term, inflammation is our normal response to an infection. The infected area becomes red, swollen and inflamed. We bring our innate … Read more

Genetic Determinism, Indeed!

Genetic determinism, according to Wikipedia, is the belief that genes, along with environmental conditions, determine morphological and behavioral phenotypes. It does not mean that genes totally rule, and will decide your preferred political party, your religion, and your love of carrots. It just means that genes are really important in shaping who you are. So … Read more

All about flesh eating bacteria

The 24 year old graduate student Aimee Copeland fell when a homemade zip line over the Little Tallapoosa River broke. She hit the rocks below, suffering deep cuts that became infected with flesh eating bacteria. And the horror began, with doctors forced to amputate both feet, both hands, all of one leg, and part of … Read more

You’ve got to clean out all the crap!

The day before a colonoscopy you stop eating solids and start pumping laxatives. Most people agree that this is the worst part of the procedure. You spend a lot of time sitting on the toilet, and feeling hungry. Many studies have shown that about one quarter of patients fail to properly prepare their colons, leaving … Read more

The Twenty Missing Genes

We people have about twenty five thousand genes, a shockingly small number considering how complicated we are. It is truly amazing that you can genetically encode all of the remarkable complexity of a person with only twenty five thousand genes. As we sequenced the DNAs of other organisms we discovered that people don’t have a … Read more