Friday, August 04, 2017

Meiosis kills! (Now in print, and video)

Scientists are rarely dispassionate about their research. Why spend years trying to figure out the fine details of something you have no interest in? Before my wife and I lost two pregnancies, I had thought abstractly about the question of why developmental failure is so common across plants and animals, but it wasn't personal. I was interested in the fact that dying before reproductive age means an individual does not get to pass on whatever traits caused it to die. In other words, natural selection should quickly remove any heritable trait that commonly causes developmental failure. At the same time, pretty much any organism loses some of its offspring, implying some broad based mechanism WAS commonly causing developmental failure. I even went so far as to publish a review article focusing on what this mechanism might be.

But once developmental failure became personal, I wasn't just interested, I needed to know.  

The result of that impulse was just published by Proceedings B, one of my favorite scientific journals. 

In addition, I worked with Sarah Friedrich, the extremely talented Graphics Specialist in my department, to make this video explaining the science in public-friendly ways:

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