I’m coming up on the 52nd entry of the DNA Science Blog, and so below is a linked list of my sometimes skewed view of human genetics and genomics. I’m a hybrid of sorts – geneticist, journalist, instructor, genetic counselor, cat lover, and parent — and I strive to cover topics and treatments that the news feeds and aggregators miss.
First, a few observations.
The two most-trafficked posts correspond to the two most stressful situations I’ve faced the past year. #1 was Genetics Errors in Supreme Court Decision. I’d already turned in that morning’s post, on disgusting tumors, when my PLOS editor emailed to drop everything and write about the just-released Supreme Court decision on DNA patents. That I did, spotting the initial error in the decision calling complementary DNA composite DNA.
I wrote that blog post in the apheresis unit at Albany Medical Center, where my daughter was being treated for what would become life-threatening dehydration following surgical complications. Surrounded by kids getting chemo, I tapped out the blog.
The second most highly-read blog indulged my goal to find unusual stories. I’d noted a paper about hypertrichosis far down in the table of contents of the American Journal of Human Genetics, and realizing what this might mean, did some digging and turned the report into The Curious Genetics of Werewolves.
I wrote the werewolf post in the wintertime serenity of Martha’s Vineyard. But then a blizzard trapped me and my loved ones in a scarily skidding car somewhere in the wilds of Connecticut, trying to get a daughter to JFK for a morning flight (long story). We ended up at an establishment that made the Bates Motel look like the Ritz, and so the next morning, my editor had to rescue and post the werewolf blog.
Many of the posts are about my passion, families dealing with rare genetic diseases. They are amazing. Sometimes I whine about genetic testing, mostly to get a rise out of readers. Why I Don’t Want to Know My Genome Sequence garnered the most grief. And I love to write about research, from drug discovery to a woman in a clinical trial who had human embryonic stem cells in her eye.
Once in awhile I’m enticed by breaking news, like growing brains in lab dishes from a few weeks ago, but that thrill is ephemeral. I much prefer to find the ignored werewolves.
The most useful posts were probably the two about feline immunodeficiency virus. I heard from several cat owners and the sagas of my infected pets may have saved a few kitties. My most disturbing post questioned the Havasupai Indian case, for which I received a nasty personal threat from an arrogant attorney who, despite his stated attempt to ruin my career, did not understand genetics.
So here the posts are, from most recent back to the beginning.