Bacteria antibiotic resistance, and a possible solution – Part 1

cropped-bacteria-426997_1920.jpgIt’s been a while since I wrote. Life has been crazy, as life sometimes is. But I came across a cool video clip a little while ago, and then an amazing discovery which just happened to tie in with this video appeared. I’ll look at this in two posts, so that it’s not too much to digest (or write!) at once. So let’s talk about bacterial antibiotic resistance. Continue reading

CRISPR: How genome editing will change the world forever

syringe-1884779_1920Genetic modification in one form or another has been around for centuries. With the passage of time, we have seen the progression from breeding and selection to inserting genes into other organisms so that they can make things for us (think insulin). On September 7th, KAT-O hosted a TechTalk in Cape Town, where speaker Dr Janine Scholefield presented a talk on an exciting new technology, called CRISPR/Cas9. Continue reading

Would you get your genome sequenced?

DNA manThe Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed in 2003, giving us insight into the impact of genetics on the functioning – and malfunctioning – of a human being. As the technology advances, sequencing someone’s genome has become more and more affordable – down from 100 million USD in 2001 to “just” 1000 USD in 2015. New technologies have also made smaller sequencing projects feasible, to the level where it could soon become an integral part of the public health system. Continue reading

Genetics & medicine: why that drug doesn’t work for you

cropped-pgx.jpgIt’s been a while since I wrote – sometimes one needs to take some time off to deal with life! This topic is one that I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now, because it’s so intriguing. We all know by now that genetics and disease are often linked (for example a predisposition to breast cancer). But it has also become apparent that your genetics affect the way you respond to certain medicines – why a drug won’t work for one person, but will result in severe adverse reactions for another. This field is called pharmacogenetics. Continue reading

Through the looking glass

800px-Chirality_with_handsHave you ever stopped to think about parallel universes? Let’s suspend reality for a bit. You look into your mirror. “Who’s the fairest of them all?” (Oh wait, wrong fairy tale!) As you lift your right hand, your reflection lifts its left. But right-handed you goes about your life, whereas left-handed you only exists through the looking glass. It turns out that nature is the same – and scientists are starting to come up with ways to access the world through the looking glass. Continue reading

Time to get a second skin?

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Photo: Melanie Gonick/MIT

So we’ve all heard about “having a thick skin” in the context of criticism, but what about a second skin? Scientists at MIT have recently engineered a silicon-based second skin with the aim of restoring biomechanical integrity in aging skin. In plain English – less wrinkles. Sorry beauty infomercials; this one really does work in just a couple of hours! It also offers some other exciting possibilities. Continue reading