Hydrocarbon-degrading Alcanivorax found in plumes of hydrothermal vents

by Nirvan Marathe These petrol-munching bacteria show immense ecological potential… Left- Black smoker hydrothermal vent billows fluids into surrounding seawater at Niua volcano, Tonga (courtesy of United States Geological Survey). Right- Alcanivorax bacteria (courtesy of scientificamerican.com). Now you might’ve heard of the bacterial genus Alcanivorax, some species within it were recruited to help BP cleanContinue reading “Hydrocarbon-degrading Alcanivorax found in plumes of hydrothermal vents”

Human exercise motivational states are controlled by microbiome

By: Evelyn Nguyen Evolutionary biologists firmly believe that modern humans thrive out of Darwinian evolution because our ancestors possessed superior locomotive ability. The typical modern lifestyle of reduced bipedal movement, therefore unsurprisingly, has been identified as a risk factor for modern-day noncommunicable diseases such as metabolic, neurological and neoplastic conditions. As a result, targeted effortsContinue reading “Human exercise motivational states are controlled by microbiome”

Psychopathy- environmental or genetic?

By: Nirvan Marathe Psychopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, is a neurological disorder which has been ‘romanticised’ in a sense by the media through pop culture portrayal. The illness has distinct phenotypes, included poor emotional responses, lack of empathy and general antisocial behaviour. There is an ongoing debate on whether psychopathy should be regarded as havingContinue reading “Psychopathy- environmental or genetic?”


INSIGHTS FROM THE BLACK DEATH Yersinia pestis under the microscope. (Image by NIAID) By Celeste Cohen Pandemics have shaped our history and present, changing the way we consider disease and hygiene. They have also shaped pathogens, which evolve to increase their transmission and resistance. But what about us? Have we evolved as a result ofContinue reading “HOW DO PANDEMICS SHAPE OUR GENOME? “

Euglenoids: the next big thing?

Nirvan Marathe The Euglena International Network (EIN) was an organisation set up as a worldwide collaboration with aims to propagate genetic research into Euglenoids. This constitutes a group of mainly freshwater protists, which possess a vast variety of characteristics which could be applied to biotechnological applications(1). However, the key word here is ‘could’, because atContinue reading “Euglenoids: the next big thing?”

The Ethics of Gene Editing

Evelyn L Nguyen During a typical rainy-gloomy London February week, I made my trip to the Francis Crick Institute for an exhibition concerning genome editing, and the shining star of the evening was CRISPR-Cas9. Created in 2012, CRISPR-Cas 9 has quickly made its way into becoming the trendiest, most prominent tool for “tweaking” genetics ofContinue reading “The Ethics of Gene Editing”

How is the Eurocentric Bias affecting Genetics?

 Celeste E Cohen Since the official completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, hundreds of thousands of human genomes have been sequenced and studied around the world. In genetics, however, “around the world” has often meant majoritarily populations of European descent, interspersed with few and often excluded samples from other ethnicities and geographical areas.Continue reading How is the Eurocentric Bias affecting Genetics?

Essay Competition Winner: Artificial Intelligence and its Pursuit of Predicting Gene Expression by Amith Hariharasudhan

DNA is the self-replicating molecule that consists of our genetic information. Sequences of DNA nucleotides compose genes, which encode the amino acid sequences forming proteins. There are approximately 20,000 genes in our body, determining many traits from our susceptibility to specific diseases to facial features and more. However, only 2% of the DNA in ourContinue reading “Essay Competition Winner: Artificial Intelligence and its Pursuit of Predicting Gene Expression by Amith Hariharasudhan”