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Mitochondria As Regulators Of The Cell Cycle

Pop Quiz: What is the role of the mitochondria in a cell?Until just a few days ago, the only correct...

Say Goodbye to the Printed Textbook....

I remember distinctly lugging a backpack of textbooks across the frozen tundra of Michigan State...

Sue Your Parents For Your Genes

It is said that people go into psychology to understand themselves...well, one of my main reasons...

News From The War On Cancer...Linking The Pieces

As part of the Darwin Bicentennial Lecture Series at Appalachian State University, Dr....

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Michael WindelspechtRSS Feed of this column.

I am a science writer for Ricochet Productions LLC and the author of several books on the history of science, the human body, and genetics.


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The genetic code is the metabolic instructions by which the genetic information in the DNA is translated into a protein. The fact that almost all organisms use the same code is prime evidence that all life is related in its evolutionary past. The code is considered to be "conserved" and "universal". Of course, the concept of universality may be challenged by exobiology's explorations of Mars, Europa, and Titan, but the conservative nature of the genetic code, with the exception of a few Archaebacteria, has always been a cornerstone of biological science.

What if society could identify aggressive behavior in individuals before a criminal act was committed? Sound a little like the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report (2002)?,well it should. Researchers at Brock University in Canada have recently completed a study of hockey players and found out that the aggressive tendencies of these individuals is associated with a higher width-to-height ratio of the face. This increased ratio is linked to higher levels of testosterone, which is linked to aggressiveness.
Michael Creighton's latest thriller, Next, presents all sorts of what-if scenarios for the genetic community. While most of us will not have to deal with foul-mouthed orangutans or smart-ass parrots, a recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that there may be a genetic factor contributing to fear of commitment in males. As reported today by the BBC ("Commitment phobes can blame genes", Sept 2, 2008), this gene is called AVPR1A.