Friday, January 24, 2014


My name is Edward and I’m a freshman majoring in biochemistry. Although non-related to my major, I have always had a deep interest for history and how events in the past shaped the world we live in today. I took this class since it offers the topics of certain diseases that pertain to my major as well as the history behind these diseases. 

This blog contains a large source of information on common viruses as well as events that lead up to vaccine development. Not only does it focus history behind the vaccine, it also has posts on the current events surrounding vaccinations such as the anti-vaccination movement and the ethical issues of developing new vaccines.

Ongenetics is a blog dedicated mostly to the field of genetics. It offers effective explanations surrounding aspects of the genome alongside medical research and implications on human health

Dr. Leonardo Noto’s blog covers a wide variety of topics relating to life sciences. Unlike the previous blogs, Noto’s blog is less formal as he explains topics in a humorous way, adding in aspects of his personal life.

The post that I found the most interesting within these blogs was in Noto’s blog. Specifically, “Are Genetic Diseases Evolutionarily Beneficial?” ( In this post he explains why specific diseases are attributed to certain human populations. Noto reiterates the fact that sickle cell disease is more common in humans of African descent due to the protection it offers against malaria for those who are carriers. He further states cystic fibrosis is prevalent amongst those of European descent because of the commonness of cholera during historic times. I found this interesting as it demonstrates how the interactions between our ancestors and their environment are somewhat encoded into our DNA. To apply this concept to myself, you need to know a secret about me: I’m Asian. I’m also lactose intolerant. It has been shown that people of East Asian descent have a high rate of lactose intolerance whereas those of Northern European descent have some of the lowest rates. These rates are explained as dairy farming originated and was dominant in Europe while it was much less common in Asia and Africa. Therefore my genome is not so much influenced by a debilitating disease, but instead influenced by my ancestors asking themselves “Do I really want to drink this stuff coming from that thing?”    

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