Humanity has come a long way since we first evolved from our ape ancestors. It started slow (extremely slow), with figuring out how to light a fire and make tools using stones, but quickly picked up to the point where, about 200,000 years later, we can manipulate life at the smallest orders of molecules, launch people into space, and even manipulate atoms to meet our desires.
In mid-February, this year, Timothy Abbott, PhD Candidate at Stanford University’s Bioengineering Department, and Dr Marie La Russa, a research scientist working at Dr Stanley Qi’s lab at Stanford, found a way to create a therapeutic agent to prevent all forms of coronavirus.
In this breakthrough research, Abbott was using an approach called PAC-MAN (Prophylactic Antiviral CRISPR in huMAN cells) to attack RNA viruses, which includes the coronavirus family, and degrade their genetic code. …
Survival of the fittest.
The backbone of the Darwinian theory of evolution that we are all familiar with. If a trait makes a certain animal more likely to survive (among other often smaller factors), then that animal will have a higher reproduction rate, leading to more animals in the next generation possessing the advantageous trait. As this cycle continues, the trait eventually becomes common across all members of the species.
However, for a species to truly evolve, it must continuously be developing newer traits, which, if helpful for the organism, will be preserved. And these new traits arise from random mutations in one’s genome. These mutations can be caused by a range of factors, like DNA damage caused by the environment (ex. UV radiation), or mistakes made during DNA replication that go unnoticed. These mutations, if they occur in the coding region of the DNA, can cause changes in the structure, or building blocks, of various proteins. These changes often have no effect, but they can also be damaging or advantageous to the organism. If they’re damaging, the species is less likely to reproduce, and the mutation is unlikely to be passed on and preserved. …
In 2006, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a Japanese stem cell researcher, published his paper on induced pluripotent stem cells, and it changed the medical world. Dr. Yamanaka had found a way to convert a mature skin cell into a stem cell by injecting just a few genes. And for this, Dr. Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012, sharing it with another Sir John B. Gurdon, who found another method of inducing pluripotency.
If you’re anything like me, you’re tired of being in lockdown because of the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2.
You’re tired of having to put on a mask every time you go to get groceries.
You’re tired of maintaining a 2-meter distance from everyone, acting like you are repulsed by everyone else.
You’re tired of being bombarded by bad news surrounding the outbreak, and the number of deaths it has caused.
And we have all right to be tired of this. Many of us might have lost our jobs, or haven’t made a proper income for months at this point.
Now, there’s many ways this could’ve been prevented. Maybe if it had been handled well, in terms of federal regulations, etc., on part of the World Health Organization (WHO), or most countries around the world. Maybe if we had some way to predict exactly how bad this could get, or how it would spread around the world. Maybe people hadn’t been so ignorant and continued to gather in public despite the threat of a deadly pandemic. …
I’m sure you’ve heard of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). It’s a neurodegenerative disorder most commonly characterized by dementia, loss of judgement, and overall, the loss of cognitive function. It affects over 5.8 million Americans or 11% of all Americans over the age of 65. And in 2018 alone, Alzheimer’s accounted for 122, 019 deaths, making it the sixth leading cause of death in America and the fifth leading cause of death among Americans above 65.
So, as you might guess, lots and lots of research has been done to find treatments and cures for the disease, ranging from small drug molecules that target cells in the brain to not so successful genome engineering approaches. …
Everyone (or at least everyone that isn’t a child) hates getting older.
I mean why wouldn’t we? Every single year we add on to our age is like taking one more step towards a cliff. Sooner or later, you’re gonna reach the cliff, and the next step you take will be your last.
Except, we’re blindfolded as we take these steps, and we don’t have a clue how far from the cliff we start. For all we know, the next step could be our last.
But some people might be able to grab the cliff and hold on after they step off. Someone else (i.e. doctors and the healthcare system) might even come along and hold on to us, trying to stop us from slipping. But they can’t actually pull us back up. We’re stuck there, hanging on, clinging for our life. Everything hurts from holding on for so long, and, in true cinematic fashion, our hand finally slips, and… we fall. …
Since childhood, every single one of us is aware that our time on this planet is running out. The same aging process that we celebrate early in our life with birthdays and parties, will be the cause of our demise in our later life.
And this fact has shaped our entire society and the way we live. For example, when we’re children, the chances of us dying because of age are nonexistent. So, we frolic around with no worries.
As teenagers, we become mature and aware of the approaching end to life, so we study and prepare for our adult life. Yet, death is likely still far, so we still play around and have fun. The same remains true in our twenties. Some of us continue to prepare by going into post-secondary education, or we might get our first job and work diligently, but our carefree spirit remains. …
Being good at something is AWESOME.
I mean, what could be better than the immense satisfaction you get when you do something really well. No matter how many times you do it, you get so happy😊 at how well you did it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Except… it does matter how many times you do it.
You can only do something and enjoy it so many times. I mean, even if you do it really really well, you’ll lose interest soon. …
Coronavirus. It’s all everyone has been talking about for about a couple of months now. From schools being shut down in countries like Canada, to complete nationwide lockdown in countries including Italy and India, it has caused complete chaos in civilizations across the globe. It’s spurred consumers to overspend on commodities like sanitizer, masks, and toilet paper (still not quite sure about that one. Why??). …