Tag Archives: DNA

A note on handedness

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Handedness (chirality) refers to the preferential use of one hand over the other. It is a matter of degree; it is seldom absolute. Population left and right preference existed in the Neanderthals (lived from 400,000 to about 40,000 years ago) onwards. Only homo sapiens amongst the great apes […]

Trijntje Keever—a tall tale

Orit Pinhas-Hamiel Hamiel Uri Tirosh Amit Ramat Gan, Israel   A life-size painting of Trijntje Keever. Unknown Painter. 1633. Via Wikimedia. There is a life-size painting in the city of Edam in The Netherlands that portrays a girl who is exceptionally tall with disproportionately long hands. The artist is unknown, but the name of the […]

Review: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics. The publication of this book could not have been better timed. The book sets out to show how pandemics, epidemics, and infectious diseases have shaped human history over the last 5,000 years. Its contents help us […]

A look back at insulin

Shrestha Saraf Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom Sanjay Saraf Sudarshan Ramachandran Birmingham, United Kingdom   Sir Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best co-discoverers of Insulin. Library and Archives Canada. Via Wikimedia. As we approach the centenary of the isolation, purification, and clinical use of insulin, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on the impact of […]

Painting an ICU

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, England, United Kingdom   Claude Monet’s Japanese Bridge and Water Lilies from 1899. Princeton University Art Museum. Wikipedia. “[Monet was] only an eye – yet what an eye.” — Paul Cézanne Much has been written about Claude Monet’s ophthalmic pathology.1-4 However, attributing his stylistic development to cataracts alone seems an overly […]

Mitochondrial DNA: a maternal gift

Marshall Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Human haplogroup tree rooted at Mitochondrial Eve. By Wapondaponda. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 DNA is arrayed on twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in human cell nuclei. It is coiled tightly around proteins called histones that together with DNA form a chromosome. The largest chromosome carries several […]

Ancient Greek plague and coronavirus

Patrick Bell Belfast, Northern Ireland   Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts, ca 1650. Credit Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Introduction Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War have been termed “the three earliest, and arguably most influential, representations of the plague in Western narrative.”1 This […]

The first description of DNA: a six million dollar letter from Francis to Michael Crick

Marshall A. Lichtman  Rochester, New York, United States   Figure 1. The boyish appearing James Watson (left) and the Francis Crick with their three-dimensional model of DNA in their Cavendish Laboratory office at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. Circa 1953. Photo credit: A. Barrington Brown/Science Photo Library. Via the Rockefeller University Digital Commons. In the April […]

Bleeding science dry: the history of scientific racism and blood

Matthew Casas Kansas City, United States   Help the Red Cross. U.S. Food Administration. Educational Division. Advertising Section. 1917 – 1919. National Archives Catalog, identifier 512661. One might be familiar with the expression “We All Bleed Red.” But what exactly does blood have to say about our “humanity”? Ripe with good intention, the aforementioned mantra […]

Blood relics and contemporary memory

Robbie Porter Worcester, England   Basement room of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, where the Russian Imperial Family were executed. Investigator Nicholas Sokolov apparently recovered 13 drops of blood from here. Source In the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich there is an exhibit, carefully preserved in an environmentally conditioned case, which is amongst its most […]