Entries by Bryan Harada

When did Mitochondria Evolve?

Historically, life is categorized into three broad domains: bacteria, archaea, and eukaryota.  Whereas bacteria and archaea are almost all relatively simple, single-celled microorganisms, humans and all other forms of complex, multi-cellular life (including all other animals, plants, and fungi) are classified as eukaryotes, so understanding the evolution of eukaryotes is important for understanding the origin…

What Causes Cancer: Bad Luck or Bad Lifestyles?

What causes cancer?  For the most part, cancer is a disease that arises from mutations in the body that accumulate over time.  These mutations knock-out key tumor suppressor genes involved in repairing DNA or regulating cell division and activate oncogenes that can drive cells to divide uncontrollably and invade other tissues.  But where do these…

Can Gene Editing Eliminate Alzheimer’s Disease?

The development of the CRISPR/Cas9 system has made gene editing a relatively simple task.  While CRISPR and other gene editing technologies stand to revolutionize biomedical research and offers many promising therapeutic avenues (such as in the treatment of HIV), a great deal of debate exists over whether CRISPR should be used to modify human embryos….

Why CRISPR Technologies Won’t Lead to Designer Babies

The prospect of designer babies has been a staple of the dystopian futures imagined by science-fiction writers, evoking fears of eugenics (e.g. Brave New World) or social inequality (e.g. Gattaca). However, new advances in gene editing technologies, in particular, the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, are bringing this piece of science fiction closer to reality….