Category Archives: Genetics

Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?

WHERE did the virus causing the current pandemic come from? How did it get to a food market in Wuhan, China, from where it is thought to have spilled over into humans? The answers to these questions are gradually being pieced together, and the story they tell makes for uncomfortable reading…

This article first appeared in The Observer on 28 March 2020. To continue reading, click here.

 

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

Even at their most effective – and draconian – containment strategies have only slowed the spread of the respiratory disease Covid-19. With the World Health Organization finally declaring a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick…

Illustration by James Melaugh

This article first appeared in The Observer on 15 March 2020. To continue reading, click here.

 

Your DNA is valuable, why give it away?

THE announcement by 23andMe, a company that sells home DNA testing kits, that it has sold the rights to a promising new anti-inflammatory drug to a Spanish pharmaceutical company is cause for celebration. The collected health data of 23andMe’s millions of customers have potentially produced a medical advance – the first of its kind. But a few weeks later the same company announced that it was laying off workers amid a shrinking market that its CEO put down to the public’s concerns about privacy…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 16 February 2020. To continue reading, click here.

 

The 2010s: what just happened?

THE 2010s were the decade in which we were reminded that science is just a method, like the rhythm method. And just like the rhythm method, it can be more or less rigorously applied, sabotaged, overrated, underrated and ignored. If you don’t treat it with respect, you may not get the optimal result, but that’s not the method’s fault…

Ice mountains on Pluto

This article was first published in The Guardian on 26 December 2019. To continue reading, click here.

 

Who owns life?

NEXT week, delegates will gather in Rome to discuss a question that could have profound implications for global biodiversity, food security and public health. Stripped of technical language, it boils down to this: who owns life? …

Josie Ford for New Scientist

This article was first published in New Scientist on 6 November 2019. To continue reading, click here (paywall).