Below is a list of articles that I consider are better efforts. Generally older articles are nearer the top. As this is intended to be a list of writing for general readers I have, for the time being, left out several topic areas. The articles listed cover biology and medicine. I also cover science-related trivia, book reviews and material aimed more technical audiences such as articles on computing technologies or computational biology.
- Monkey business, or is my uncle also my Dad? For male pygmy marmosets, their genetic father could be their uncle. Confused? Check it out. I still regular visits to this early effort.
- GMOs and the plants we eat: neither are ‘natural’ An attempt to point out that, among other things, both our ’natural’ foods and GMOs are both not ‘natural’, really.
- Deleting a gene can turn an ovary into a testis in adult mammals I was startled to learn that ovaries may not be permanently defined to be ovaries in some adult mammals.
- The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?) Prosopagnosia is surprisingly common and has fascinated me for years.
- Epigenetics, a confused muddle in the media My biological research interests are in some aspects of epigenetics: here I make a gentle prod at a journalists over-selling epigenetics.
- Aww, crap. Some pitcher plants have adapted to be tree-shrew toilets…
- Book sales, frumpy readers, and mental rotation of book titles While at the famous-in-Dunedin 24-hour book sale I wondered if there was a ‘right’ orientation to scan rows of books. (Nominated by a reader for OpenLaboratory 2010.)
- I remember because my DNA was methylated Epigenetics meets neural systems, meets memories. I get a little lyrical in the beginning, which I confess I enjoyed.
- Boney lumps, linkage analysis and whole genome sequencing Looking for the basis of inherited bone spurs.
- Temperature-induced hearing loss This was a surprise to learn: a few rare individuals have temperature-sensitive hearing, losing it when they have a high body temperature.
- Loops to tie a knot in proteins? How proteins fold is an interest from my Ph.D. student days. A few proteins do more than just collapse on themselves in folding: they also tie knots, threading the chain through itself.
- Preserving endangered species — of gut microbes A interesting idea – new to me –that we should not only conserve rare species of animals but also microbes in our gut that reflect now rare diets.
- Coiling bacterial DNA DNA in cells is rarely ’naked’, it is packaged with proteins. This article presents a new model for bacterial DNA packaging.
- Finding platypus venom Researchers cleverly did not extract the venom, but created them by comparing the platypus genome with known venomous proteins and expressing the genes that matched. (I have to admit this is one of my favourites.)
- Autistic children and blood mercury levels Leaving aside autism, the study covered here reveals where we get mercury from.
- Genetic tests and personalised medicine
- Monday potpourri: maps, malaria in the USA, cholera in Dunedin and vaccines Three very short pieces chain together a line of thought.
- Honey’s antibiotic properties found? One group tried playing off the compounds found in honey to determine the contributions of each to antibiotic effect and the strength of combinations.
- Rubella, not a benign disease if experienced during early pregnancy As a ‘rubella kid’ this topic is close to my heart in it’s own way.
- Autism – looking for parent-of-origin effects Some genes are expressed in a way that depends on what parent the gene was from. I report on a study looking at autism this way.
- Doggie ERVs Man shares ERVs with his (her) best friend.
- Haemophilia – towards a cure using genetic engineering Using ‘designer’ zinc finger proteins to insert a working copy of a missing gene.
- Carrots for my neighbour A longer-form piece exploring growing veges, genetic modification and supplementing plants with additional minerals in this case, calcium.
- C’s founder is no more Explaining to non-geeks why Kernigan’s passing means much to those in the computer science and computing industries.
When time permits I will revise this to strict reverse order of publication, i.e. most recent article first.
An older listing can be found on the anniversary of my first year of blogging.
I have written many articles countering various natural health lunacies and other pseudo science over the years through a perhaps misplaced sense of moral obligation. I suspect these articles stick in mind for many readers. It might surprise these people to learn that I prefer to write articles about science itself, moral obligations aside.