This is the first instalment of my three-part series that investigates how the correlative link between the gut microbiota and our weight has come to be. Obesity is a worldwide epidemiological epidemic and current interventions, both medical and lifestyle, are failing to thwart its increasing prevalence. The discovery of that the gut microbial community is implicated in our expanding waistlines has spurred attempts to manipulate its composition – with novel procedures exploding onto the wellness scene.
Understanding of cell biology has greatly advanced in recent years, thanks to improved cell culture techniques. By culturing cells (i.e. growing cells outside the body) scientists are able to perform experiments on living tissue, which they couldn’t possibly perform on a human being.
We have all had multiple viral infections in our lifetime, be it the flu or a more serious disease such as measles. Every year, new strains of virus feature in the spot light, making it a challenge to keep up with treatment options. But when did we first come across viruses? How did we differentiate them from other disease-causing pathogens? How did the first vaccinations against viruses come about?
By Helen Albert, Editor
Although archaeologists and anthropologists have been studying the ancient remains of our ancestors for many years, the study of ancient DNA extracted from these specimens began more recently. In 1984, Russell Higuchi, Allan Wilson and colleagues (University of California, Berkeley, USA) managed to extract DNA from a museum specimen of the Quagga, an extinct relative of the Zebra.