Category Archives: Genetics

How does the Zika virus cause microcephaly? Why do some people develop schizophrenia or mental disease while others don’t? Is our sexual orientation hardwired in our genes? As seemingly unrelated as these questions might sound, they can all be addressed […]

The number of genes linked to autism has not stopped growing in the last decade. Although there are hundreds of variants that are more frequent in people who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than in the general population, […]

Almost every one of our body cells bears in its nucleus about 2 meters of DNA containing the genes that shape our being. All that, roughly 20.000 protein-coding genes, regulatory and unknown-function sequences, tightly packed inside a structure that has […]

Like father like son. We have all heard it one time or another. The layman explanation to hereditary characters. Whether the cause is genetic inheritance or the effect of growing up in a certain environment, is quite something else. When […]

Unless you’ve been sitting in a cave for the last couple of years, you have probably heard about the new great promise of gene therapy: the gene editing CRISPR system. This new addition to the molecular biology toolbox is […]

When we talk about nucleic acids we generally think of DNA and RNA that code for proteins, and when we talk about brain cells we tend to think of neurons and their nerve impulse transmission. However, it is not news […]

Behind the symmetrical shell of humans and vertebrates lies a profound asymmetry. Our bilaterality breaks down inside our body. Not only our viscera are organized asymmetrically. Also our brain and nervous system, whose general appearance seems symmetrical, present lateralized structure […]

Patients suffering from rare diseases (defined by the European as those affecting less than 5 in 10000 people) have traditionally been overlooked by pharmaceutical companies. They are usually looking for the next blockbuster drug, so the lack of a large […]

Pigmentations are among the clearest examples of phenotypic variation in many species. Hair, skin and eye colors are highly heritable and visible traits in humans. Blond hair is most commonly found in Northern and Central Europeans and their descendants. Nowadays […]

The identification of previously unknown proteins is a difficult task and often requires to follow unconventional thinking. In my previous post, I have described how the TRPV1 ion channel (formerly known as the capsaicin receptor) was discovered by combining […]