It’s not just the germs — it’s also the genes

Pathogens can make us sick. Just how sick depends on genetic variations, including ones that sabotage immune molecules called interferons. A better understanding could lead to new treatments for Covid-19 and other scourges.

Eric Toner • knowable
Nov. 3, 2020 ~13 min

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Matching meals to metabolism

Genes, microbes and other factors govern how each person’s body processes nutrients. Understanding the connections could help optimize diets — and health.

Jyoti Madhusoodanan • knowable
July 28, 2020 ~11 min

genetics public-health qa health-disease

How viruses evolve

Pathogens that switch to a new host species have some adapting to do. How does that affect the course of a pandemic like Covid-19?

Bob Holmes • knowable
July 16, 2020 ~18 min

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From tiger scat to DNA to — hopefully — survival

Researchers dig out the elusive cats’ genetic material where they can, to guide efforts at conservation and diversity

Amber Dance • knowable
Sept. 17, 2019 ~13 min

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A world in a bottle of water

Revolutionary techniques using traces of environmental DNA are analyzing entire ecosystems “from microbes to whales”

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega • knowable
Aug. 2, 2019 ~14 min

genetics climate-change living-world food-environment

What does it look like to “turn on” a gene?

Only recently have scientists directly witnessed this most pivotal of events in biology, thanks to new technology that allows them to observe the process in living cells. It’s teaching them a lot.

Alla Katsnelson • knowable
April 26, 2019 ~12 min

genetics technology living-world

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