DNA repair in the Cell Cycle

The Cell Cycle is the process by which cells grow and then divide to form new cells. This cell division happens throughout our bodies; from the production of new blood cells in our bone marrow to the generation of new layers of skin cells. In this video we talked to Professor Peter Burgers about his work on […]

Why haven’t we cured cancer?

Cancer has been a monumental target for medical research – in the West it’s a leading cause of death, and is highly feared. But this reputation isn’t necessarily earned. A large number of patients arrive in clinic with the secret apprehension that it could be the ‘big C’ despite the fact heart disease is the […]

Genes Means Hearts

In 2000, the human genome, a manuscript containing all the genes that make us human, was completed at a cost of $3 billion dollars. At a cost of nearly $1 a letter, this makes it the costliest script ever bought (its worthiest competitor being Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’, sold for $11.5 million). What, apart from […]

Creating Spiderman

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the cinema to watch The Amazing Spider-Man. When the words “DNA” and “recombination” popped up during the film, I got excited and started thinking. I later asked myself: In reality, how close are we to creating artificial hybrid species? Let’s briefly revisit the idea of Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker. Parker […]

Knotty Developments with DNA

Karin Valencia is a PhD student in Imperial’s DNA Topology research group. The term ‘DNA structure’ may bring to mind any number of things, from the television drama CSI to the famous double helix. Perhaps less familiar are the ‘higher-order’ structural features of DNA, namely knots. DNA in nature can be found to be ‘knotted’ […]

Lonesome George and the Barcode of Life

Posthumously, Lonesome George has become a very famous tortoise. Believed to be the last of his subspecies, and often billed as the rarest creature on Earth, he has served as something of a poster boy for endangered species all over the world. We still know relatively little about the effects that the environment has on […]

Butterflies, Brains & DNA Games

Monarch caterpillar Since Watson and Crick’s seminal discovery of the double helix there’s been an emergent supposition that DNA makes us what we are. This is a savagely simple belief, which has allowed creationists to pick holes in Darwin’s arguments, but also probably reflects why only 40 years later genetic research is at the point […]

The A(TG)C of You and Me

Should we all be sequencing our own genomes? It’s often said that “it’s what’s inside that counts”. From a medic’s point of view, past the external stigmata of disease, this is widely true. For a geneticist it is sacred. Genomes constitute an entire instruction manual for building an organism. They contain hidden heirlooms from our […]

Video: GM from Scratch

Stop-motion genetic modification! Credit to Pen Hill, Lucy van Dorp, Sam Cavenagh, Vanna Barber and Luis Mulet Planelles. More > Got a taste for stop-motion science? Check out Edible CERN!

Vive la Différence

Variation is the driving force behind evolution and the reason why any species persists on this planet. Yet the science of human diversity is curtailed by controversial politics and outcries against racism. Some resistance comes from indigenous groups who feel they would be lab rats, but most comes from cautious government groups like the European […]

A new spin on computing

Spin, as anyone who has ever heard Alistair Campbell speak, is a tricky thing to figure out. Quantum spin – a property many subatomic particles have – is equally confounding, but, if understood, could lead to a powerful new breed of computer technology called spintronics. Despite its name, quantum spin does not actually refer to […]

Podcast: Do you know your A.C.G.T?

…as easy as 1.2.3… Sorry, got caught up singing my favorite song. Jackson 5, legends. Though they obviously got the A.B.C part wrong because it should have been A.G.C.T, the 4 most important letters of life! A.G.C.T represent the 4 bases that make up DNA, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. When contained in DNA they […]

Unseen Heroes of Science

Gideon Mantell (1790–1852) Mantell was a full-time medical doctor, but made some incredible contributions to palaeontology in his spare time. He was the first to correctly identify dinosaur fossils as giant reptiles and to describe Iguanodon, but was constantly fielding criticism from his rival, the founder of the Natural History Museum, Richard Owen. Eminent French […]

From the Editor – Crazy Kary Mullis

08/02/2006 Three years ago, after yet another Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) had failed and science seemed a never-ending series of repetitive frustrations, a friend lent me a book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR. Mullis, as it turns out, is one of those controversial figures of science. A distinguished […]