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Michael White

Michael White
Michael White is a systems biologist at the Department of Genetics and the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he studies how DNA encodes information for gene regulation. He co-founded the online science pub The Finch and Pea. Follow him on Twitter @genologos.

Recent posts

Genes Are Us

body-makeup

Why Our Molecular Make-Up Can’t Explain Who We Are

Our genes only tell a portion of the story.

Genes Are Us

tree-gears

Why ‘Nature Versus Nurture’ Often Doesn’t Matter

Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to try to separate the social and the biological.

Genes Are Us

sex-gene

How the Sexes Evolved

The distinction between males and females is one of the oldest facts of biology—but how did it come to affect our social identity?

Genes Are Us

mechanic-human

How Tiny Genetic Changes Have Massive Behavioral Effects

When comparing the social and the biological, it helps to look at how the breakdown of one can influence the other.

Genes Are Us

book-math

How and Why Does the Social Become Biological?

To get closer to an answer, it’s helpful to look at two things we’ve taught ourselves over time: reading and math.

Genes Are Us

childhood-cancer

The Consequences of Curing Childhood Cancer

The majority of American children with cancer will be cured, but it may leave them unable to have children of their own. Should preserving fertility in cancer survivors be a research priority?

Their Money

einstein-nas

What Are the Benefits of Government-Funded Research?

Congress wants to know.

Genes Are Us

hand-social-media

Is Social Media Saving Science?

Online discussions and post-publication analyses are catching mistakes that sneak past editorial review.

Genes Are Us

blonde-dna

Genes Affect Our Behavior, but So Does the Environment

Despite the recent discovery of the “blonde gene,” environmental differences and genetic effects remain inextricably linked.

Genes Are Us

cleopatra

Elizabeth Taylor, My Great-Grandpa, and the Future of Antibiotics

While it’s not clear whether or not they worked for the Cleopatra star over a half-century ago, phage treatments could help solve the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

Genes Are Us

dna-edit

We Now Can Edit Our Genes, but Should We?

Some gene-shifting possibilities once only thought to be in the realm of science fiction could soon be a reality.

Genes Are Us

mutation

Should Researchers Warn Their Subjects About Genetic Danger?

It seems like an easy question, but the indirect correlation between genetic mutations and disease risk muddles up the ethics.

Genes Are Us

statistics

Why Statistically Significant Studies Aren’t Necessarily Significant

Modern statistics have made it easier than ever for us to fool ourselves.

Genes Are Us

black-white-genes

Why Your Race Isn’t Genetic

DNA doesn’t determine race. Society does.

Hot in Here

glacier

Resistance to Climate Change Is Killing the Government’s Ability to Use Science

Legislative opposition to climate change isn’t just keeping us from having a proper conversation about the problem. It’s destroying our ability to act.

Genes Are Us

autism-shadow

Autism Shows Why Disease Is So Hard to Solve

What’s not a cause of autism? Vaccines. What is? Genetics—but only in a partial, tangled, complicated way that we’re still trying to figure out.

Genes Are Us

dna-gene-obsolete

Your Genes Are Obsolete

Genes don’t consistently do what we once thought they would, so it’s time to reconsider what we mean when we say the word.

Genes Are Us

life-scientist

It’s a Great Time for the Life Sciences, but a Terrible Time to Be a Life Scientist

Despite numerous recent breakthroughs and discoveries, the extreme competition and lab-research feedback loop don’t bode well for the future of the field.

Genes Are Us

mouse

Are Lab Mice of Men?

There have always been limitations to experiments done on mice, but new technology, which allows scientists to replace mouse genes with human genes, could clear the way for new ground to be broken.

The Things We Eat

wheat

How Climate Change Will Affect Our Ancient Relationship With Our Most Important Grain

At a time when the worldwide wheat supply needs to grow, we might not even be able to keep it from diminishing.

In the Classroom

creation-museum-dinosaur

Why We Need to Teach the Evolution ‘Controversy’ in Schools

All good science should aim to convince outsiders that a consensus has been reached without any biases. Even evolution.

This Is Your Brain

big-bang

Why We Care About the Big Bang (and Everything Else)

Although our curiosity concerning the origins of the universe might not be practical, it’s uniquely human.

Genes Are Us

scientists-huh

Why Scientists Need to Learn How to Share

Despite ethical fears over work being co-opted, the benefits of scientific cooperation are too big to keep avoiding.

Genes Are Us

biology

It Doesn’t Matter That Not Everything Matters

Why scientists need to stop worrying about whether or not everything in biology serves a purpose.

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Your Brain Decides Whether to Trust Someone in Milliseconds

We can determine trustworthiness even when we’re only subliminally aware of the other person.

Young, Undocumented, and Invisible

While young migrant workers struggle under poor working conditions, U.S. policy has done little to help.

Education, Interrupted

When it comes to educational access, young Syrian refugees are becoming a “lost generation.”

No, Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder Isn’t Real

But people are anxious about losing their phones, even if they don’t do much to protect them.

Being a Couch Potato: Not So Bad After All?

For those who feel guilty about watching TV, a new study provides redemption.

The Big One

One in two full-time American fast-food workers' families are enrolled in public assistance programs, at a cost of $7 billion per year. July/August 2014 fast-food-big-one

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