Are Mice Reliable Models for Human Disease Studies?

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An article published in the New York Times on February 11 questioned the efficacy of using mice to model human diseases that involve the immune system. The article reports findings of a research paper by Seok et al. published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on February 10. The researchers assert that years and billions of dollars were wasted studying mice.

So should we scrap mice as a model system for human disease, or is there more to the story?  Continue reading

A Primer on Epigenetics and Diet

ImageIn the last decade, epigenetics has become one of the hottest topics in science. Epigenetics is the study of how genes are up- or down-regulated without modifying the actual DNA itself. Before the discovery of epigenetic marks, it was thought that a person’s genetics were set in stone at birth. Now we realize that there are a broad range of epigenetic marks that can be added to the DNA strand and alter gene expression.  Continue reading