Melissa Lau



How to Stuff a Nucleus — #GeneOTW with CTCF

When it comes to packing sleeping bags, it seems like there are two kinds of people. Some people meticulously squeeze out every drop of air, rolling the bag into a perfect cylinder. Others impatiently stuff the bag willy-nilly into a sack, and with occasional shoves from a helpful foot (or two), end up with a misshapen lump. This is all well and good for a sleeping bag… but how do you even begin...
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Puberty. It’s complicated. — #GeneOTW with WDR11

As anyone who’s gone through high school (or seen Mean Girls) can attest, being a teenager is hard. Puberty is confusing and complicated—and scientists agree. What if you were a 17-year-old girl, with breasts that haven’t developed? What if you hadn’t had your first period yet? What if you were an 18-year-old boy, with a voice that hasn’t dropped, and testes that haven’t enlarged? And how...
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When Proteins Fail Quality Control — #GeneOTW with BAG6

When Jelly Belly factories are churning out 50 tons of jelly beans per day (that’s approximately the weight of eight African elephants!), there’s bound to be a few mistakes. And with 347 Jelly Bellys produced each second, misshapen and discolored beans can accrue quite quickly.     Like any mass production line, stringent “quality control” checks for any defective beans,...
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When Fingers Become Claws — #GeneOTW with Fingerin

As a profession that often requires a lot of precision fingerwork, “musician” isn’t the first job you’d suggest to someone with a grand total of four fingers. But for Lee Hee-ah, a Korean pianist, that hasn’t stopped her. This is pretty inspiring. Lee Hee-ah plays the piano. With just four fingers!!!   Lord Lokhraed, a guitarist with a two-fingered hand, hasn’t been deterred either. Like...
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Don’t Judge a Gene By Its Name — #GeneOTW with C11ORF24

  Sonic hedgehog. Tin Man. Smaug. As much as I might wish, this list is not the line-up for a “Super Smash Bros: Literary Edition.” Putting my daydreaming aside (I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Elizabeth Bennet take on Lord Voldemort?), these three names are actually part of an even stranger history—the often whimsical, fantastical world of geneticists. Sonic hedgehog, tinman, and smaug...
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