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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

Inside the Lab

scientists

Why Scientists Make Promises They Can’t Keep

A research proposal that is totally upfront about the uncertainty of the scientific process and its potential benefits might never pass governmental muster.

Genes Are Us

dna-bulb

Why DNA Is One of Humanity’s Greatest Inventions

How we’ve co-opted our genetic material to change our world.

Hmmm

robot-hand-butterfly

Can Science Fiction Spur Science Innovation?

Without proper funding, the answer might not even matter.

Genes Are Us

genetic-mutation

The Giant Mutations in the Human Genome

Our genomes are a mess—and we’re only beginning to understand the societal costs behind such genetic uncertainty.

Go Outside

anole-lizards

Have Humans Created a New Geological Era?

Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Genes Are Us

sonic

Sonic Hedgehog, DICER, and the Problem With Naming Genes

Wait, why is there a Pokemon gene?

Health Care

ebola-virus-2

Why Science Won’t Defeat Ebola

While science will certainly help, winning the battle against Ebola is a social challenge.

Genes Are Us

evolution-puzzle

How Ancient DNA Is Rewriting Human History

We thought we knew how we’d been shaped by evolution. We were wrong.

Genes Are Us

vaccine

Why Vaccines Still Matter

They remain our best investment for improving the world’s health.

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.

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Levels of Depression Could Be Evaluated Through Measurements of Acoustic Speech

Engineers find tell-tale signs in speech patterns of the depressed.

We’re Not So Great at Rejecting Each Other

And it's probably something we should work on.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Brain

Neuroscientists find less—but potentially stronger—white matter in the brains of patients with CFS.

Incumbents, Pray for Rain

Come next Tuesday, rain could push voters toward safer, more predictable candidates.

Could Economics Benefit From Computer Science Thinking?

Computational complexity could offer new insight into old ideas in biology and, yes, even the dismal science.

The Big One

One town, Champlain, New York, was the source of nearly half the scams targeting small businesses in the United States last year. November/December 2014

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