Midsummer Nights' Science 2007
How did the human species form? The long-held view is that isolation — such as by a river or another barrier — was an early step in our evolution. But genomics is now telling a very different story. David Reich explains how decoding DNA from chimpanzees and gorillas is revealing a close and complex co-existence between our ancestors and those of other primates.
Believe it or not, the human genome is a window onto the evolutionary pressures that shaped our species throughout history. In-depth studies of human DNA can divulge the crucial genetic changes that transpired during human evolution. Pardis Sabeti explores what researchers are learning about the strongest influences on our biological past (and present) — from infectious diseases to the domestication of plants and animals.
For decades, cancers have been named according to where in the body they appear. But those names can be deceiving, particularly when it comes to cancer treatment. Todd Golub describes how genomics is helping to divide, or classify as distinct, seemingly similar tumors by cataloging what goes wrong inside them — information that could transform cancer therapy.
Known as the powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria are miniature engines that supply our cells with much needed energy. Because of their role, these organelles wield enormous influence on human health. Vamsi Mootha deconstructs the inner workings of mitochondria and how their malfunction can contribute to human disease.