Only a small amount of the human genome was sequenced between 1970 and 1990. Suddenly, in June 2000, all 3 million base pairs of the human genome were known, 5 years ahead of schedule and at a tiny fraction of the projected cost. Was it wizardry? Or technicians working serious overtime hours? Neither - an innovative team of analytic chemists was behind this acceleration. Their novel technique for separating and identifying DNA bases not only revolutionized the sequencing of DNA, but may eventually lead to "while-you-wait" disease diagnosis for throat and urinary infections, soil fertility profiling, and improved quality control measures for food supplements and antibiotics.
Students on campuses across the country religiously complain about two things: the cafeteria and writing papers. Seldom does a professor overhear students exhilarated about their latest six-pagers. More frequently, students are burning the midnight oil complaining about the papers they have due the next morning.
The genetic instructions for making you, a human being, are written in three billion DNA base pairs and tucked inside the nucleus of every cell in your body (except red blood cells). Of those three billion, only 2% are actually part of your roughly 35,000 genes. The remainder may hold your chromosomes' structure together, play unknown roles in regulating protein production, or simply take up space as "junk" DNA, the detritus of humankind's long evolution from earlier species.
How much does nothing weigh?
Up until a few years ago, any reasonable person would have replied: "Nothing weighs nothing." Recently though, astronomers have been toying with the remarkable idea that nothing actually weighs something . and that this weight determines the structure, evolution, and fate of our universe.
When first confronted with the notion that viruses can cause cancer, many individuals react with suspicion. Traditionally, cancer is not thought of as an infectious disease; rather, it is presumed to be a result of a genetic predisposition to cancer, exposure to nuclear radiation or environmental toxins, or unhealthy eating and exercise habits. Most people are familiar with the widespread public health notices encouraging a healthy lifestyle as a method for substantially decreasing the likelihood that an individual will contract a serious illness such as cancer.