When the human genome was sequenced a decade ago, the world lit up with talk of new treatments that would help us cheat death. So why do exercise and healthy eating still do more for us than doctors can?
From my article in the November 2009 issue of Fast Company:
Ernest Hemingway’s writing may have tended to the short and sharp, but the man himself was apparently fond of the cuddly and extraneous, at least when it came to kittens with too many toes. A sea-captain friend of Hemingway’s, it seems, persuaded him to take in a polydactylic cat, and that cat became the progenitor of a colony of overly toed felines thriving today in and around the museum in Key West that was Hemingway’s home. The patterns of inheritance among those cats have even helped shed a bit of light on certain defects in human DNA. And so it is that Papa retroactively became an early contributor to the science of the human genome.
I learn this from Nadav Ahituv, a rising-star geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center, who studies the genetic roots of limb-related defects, obesity, and drug absorption….. read more