Genetic Testing in the Classroom
The University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University are offering genetic testing to their students. No students are required to take the tests, but bioethicists have raised concerns about what happens to the data, and how students will respond to the data.
DNA sampling kits were sent to over 5000 incoming freshman and transfer students at Berkeley in an attempt to begin a discussion during orientation on genetic testing, the results of the tests, and the decision on whether or not to participate. Stanford is limiting its tests to medical and graduate students that are part of a 2 month summer class on Genetics. Students can choose to have their genotype analyzed by one of two genomics companies that test for risks of certain health conditions as well as drug sensitivities.
Chinese Obesity is Beginning to Grow
According to the Center for Disease Control, American obesity may have finally hit a plateau. But China’s citizens are beginning to catch up. The cause and effect appears to be straightforward: areas in China that have western fast food restaurants have higher levels of unhealthy weight gain.
Chinese people as a whole are gaining in wealth, leading more sedentary lives and abandoning traditional diets in favor of typical American diets. Another possible reason put forth by economist Paul French is China’s one-child policy, which limits ethnic Han Chinese living in urban areas to having only one child per family. French suggests that the one-child policy has created a bunch of “little emperors” who are spoiled with treats by extended family and as they’ve grown up, are beginning to show it.
Sex Pheromones: Crying as a way to Get a Mate
Male mice have sex pheromones in their tears. During grooming, their tears--which they shed to keep their eyes from drying out--are spread all over their fur and nests.
Female mice respond to the aphrodisiac tears with a special nose organ called a vomeronasal. The female mouse has to touch the pheromone on the male mouse or his nest for it to work. When active, the pheromone goes to sex-specific areas of her brain, and the mouse become 3 times more likely to engage in lordosis behavior--where animals in heat push their tails and back quarters upward.
Nothing similar has been found to be effective in humans. Scientist hypothesize that humans don’t use similar chemical receptors because we have good vision and language.
Junk Food Tip
: If your child is yearning for the golden arches, make a “happy meal” at home, where you can control the oil, fat, and salt.