All cells in your body share the same genome, but a heart cell keeps a beat while a liver cell does detox. How can the same genome give rise to such different cell types? The answer is epigenetics. Here we describe the history, function, and relevance of epigenetics to the cells in your body.
How do we avoid getting sick in a world full of bacteria, viruses, and other deadly pathogens? We have evolved a subsystem within our immune systemthat functions as our very first line of defense against pathogens. This primary subsystem is called the “behavioral immune system”. This behavioral immune subsystem’s methods of defense against pathogens can be described up in one word….disgust.
Who should get the seasonal flu vaccine? Why is the flu vaccine different each year? How does the flu vaccine protect us? The CDC has estimated that seasonal influenza or the flu is responsible for around 50,000 deaths worldwide each year1. In 1918, the “Spanish flu” pandemic killed over 6,750,00 people in the U.S. and caused over 50 million deaths worldwide2. The more recent 2009 pandemic flu resulted in over 200,00 deaths during its first year of circulation in the human population1.
Why does the immune system sometimes go haywire and cause allergies? Scientists now think that a healthy immune system needs training early in life by unlikely allies: microbes. How can microbes be our friends in the face of allergies, and why are these disorders getting more common recently?
Marine animals face a lot of potential issues when swimming through the water. One wrong turn, and you could end up as someone else’s next meal. Not turning enough could result in bumping into a lot of things. But there is one important feature found everywhere that they have to face almost all the time, and this feature is rarely seen – vortices.