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Antimicrobial Peptides: Your Body's Homeland Security

Antimicrobial Peptides: immune foot soldiers that are quick-acting, deadly, and on the front lines

Kelly McGillHeadshot of Kelly McGill
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How do we survive infections when some types of bacteria can double their population as quickly as a run of a sitcom episode (twenty minutes) while our adaptive immune system takes a few days to produce antibodies and T cells in our defense? What defenses does our body use in the meantime to keep the infection under control?

Morning Bird or Night Owl?

The science and genetics of sleep preferences

Jenny HsuHeadshot of Jenny Hsu
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We each have a powerful alarm clock in our cells that tells us when to sleep and when to be active – our circadian rhythm – and it’s wound differently for each person. In this article you’ll learn how circadian rhythm controls sleep, how a greatly altered circadian rhythm leads to sleep disorders, and the latest research on the genetics of sleep preferences.

The Essence of Life

Distinguishing essential genes from those we can live without

Headshot of Mike Gloudemans
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A young boy comes into the doctor's office presenting unusual sypmtoms. To solve his case, we'll explore which genes are most essential for human health, and which ones can survive heavy mutation.

Turning up the heat on ocean parasites: sink or swim?

As worry mounts about the anticipated effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems, how will marine parasites fare?

Isabel JonesHeadshot of Isabel Jones
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If someone asks you what the most common life strategy on earth is, you might be surprised by the answer. It turns out that some 40% of known species on our planet are parasites. Parasites are organisms that spend at least some part of their life on or in a host species, at that host’s prolonged expense or eventual death. Rarely inspiring respect, parasites are more commonly considered scoundrels and degenerates, exploiting other species in order take the easiest route to reproductive bliss. But there is nothing easy about being a parasite. Many parasites have complex transmission, requiring successive infection of multiple different hosts in order to complete their lifecycle. In fact, that parasitism is so successful in the face of such complexity is a testament to the strategy’s evolutionary elegance. But how will this elegant life strategy hold up to accelerating climate change?