‘We Gained Hope.’ The Story of Lilly Grossman’s Genome

A couple has trouble finding a treatment for their 13-year-old daughter’s undiagnosed illness. Sequencing her genome provided a promising path to an answer:

“The family has a mantra: It’s a marathon not a sprint. They were battle-hardened from a long road of possible fixes and disappointments. ‘We thought: This is great but it’s probably just going to be another data point that we add to the binder,’ says Steve. ‘Lilly’s already had a lot of bad news in her life,’ says Gay. ‘Her biggest fear was that we wouldn’t find anything. Not knowing would be the worst thing.'”

Author: Ed Yong
Published: Mar 11, 2013
Length: 12 minutes (3,222 words)

Scientific Families: Dynasty

A look at ecologist Bob Paine, whose mentorship has produced a long line of influential scientists throughout his five-decade career:

“Soon, Paine’s students were growing up and embarking on careers of their own. Few have spawned as rich a legacy as Jane Lubchenco and Bruce Menge. They met as graduate students in Paine’s lab in 1969, married two years later and began a partnership that has generated more than 31 students and 19 postdocs. After the pair left Paine’s lab, they took his experimental approach to the US east coast; she focused on plants and herbivores, while he concentrated on predators. By enclosing, excluding and removing species at different points along the New England shore, they showed that fierce waves can keep predators such as starfish at bay, allowing mussels to dominate. But in sheltered areas, predators kept mussels under control, allowing Irish moss (Chondrus crispus), a type of red alga, to take over. The work revealed how the environment can control interactions between species.”

Author: Ed Yong
Source: Nature
Published: Jan 16, 2013
Length: 13 minutes (3,293 words)