This tag is associated with 9 posts

The Hobby Lobby Ruling: Contraceptives and Abortifacients

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that, due to religious objections, Hobby Lobby (and other for-profit companies) does not have to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives that are part of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, Hobby Lobby objected to four contraceptive methods – Plan B, Ella, and two intrauterine devices (IUDs) – because Hobby … Continue reading »

Toxoplasma: A Common Parasite that Affects Height, Personality, and Lots More

Have you ever felt like your reaction time isn’t as good as it should be? Or, if you’re male, have you ever had people comment that you look particularly masculine? These traits might seem unrelated, but they actually can be due to the same thing — infection by a very common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii … Continue reading »

Epigenetics Inherited from Mom and Dad

With Mother’s Day coming up, it can be fun to talk about some of our family’s genetic traits, like eye color, hair color, or having mid-digit hair (yup, that’s genetic too!). We all know that we get our genetics — the basic blueprints that make us who we are — from Mom and Dad, but … Continue reading »

Tracking Human History through Our Genes

When a child is born, its DNA is a mixture of its parents. Those parents continue to have their DNA passed down in the generations that follow, although less and less is passed down each time. Scientists can used this pattern to figure out how two distantly related people might be related, and, interestingly, to … Continue reading »

Contagious Dog Cancer is 11,000 Years Old

We know of few cancers that are contagious. The ones we’re most familiar with are caused by viruses, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, and hepatitis B, which can cause liver (hepatic) cancer. (To read more about these virus-caused cancers and their vaccines, check out my book Biology Bytes: Digestible … Continue reading »

Underground Giants: The Gippsland Earthworm

Have you ever been digging around in some rich, damp soil and come across an earthworm? When we think of earthworms, we usually think of small, wriggly critters that can just barely fit in the palm of our hand. But there are many gigantic types of earthworms around the world that can grow to astonishing … Continue reading »

Camouflage Experts: Walkingsticks

Have you ever looked at part of a plant only to discover it’s actually an insect? Walkingsticks, also known as stick-bugs, are insects that have mastered the art of camouflage. With long, skinny bodies that are usually green or brown in color (or even able to change color!), these bugs easily blend in with the … Continue reading »

Three-Parent In Vitro Fertilization

Infertility is an extremely prominent issue for many couples. In fact, one in ten people in the U.S. will face fertility problems. A solution that increasing numbers of people turn to if they want to have a biological child is in vitro fertilization (IVF). About one million people in the U.S. seek fertility treatment of … Continue reading »

Under Their Skin: How the Surinam Toad Hatches its Eggs

If you’ve ever gone tadpole hunting, you may have seen some frog or toad eggs sitting in the water. Often they’ll be clinging to a piece of vegetation, or something else, to keep them from drifting far. The parents usually abandon the eggs shortly after they’re laid, and the eggs sit and develop, basically alone, … Continue reading »