Sunday, November 30, 2008

Genetic testing to determine if Little Johnny should be a sprinter or marathoner?

This article talks about a single human gene affecting whether muscles are better suited for speed and power (such as sprinting) or longer-term strength, such as distance swimming or running marathons. There's now a commercially available genetic test, so parents now have the capacity to figure out which types of sports might best suit their child's genetic makeup. Is this the direction in which our world is moving? Are there ethical issues here? Would you test your kids?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pregnant Man is Pregnant Again

Here is a story of Thomas Beattie - a "man" expecting his second child. This story is getting lots of media attention, though not many are really talking about the biology behind the story. Thomas was born a woman, but went through surgery and hormone treatment to become a male. He stopped taking hormones (testosterone in particular) to become pregnant.

An interesting situation pops up here.....Thomas is legally a man, though biologically female, and is married to a woman. But how do those favoring Prop 8 feel about this?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Frequency of blood types in different countries

Wikipedia lists the frequencies of different blood types in a number of countries across the globe. It's kind of interesting to see some of the regional differences. For instance, in China/Hong Kong and South Korea, it is extremely rare to have Rh- blood type. What might that mean for a person with Rh- blood who was traveling in those countries and needed a blood transfusion? Ireland has by far the largest percentage of O+ blood compared with any other country - it is notably higher than listed for the UK - what might that have to do with Ireland being an island nation? I wish there was data for some African countries and/or Southeast Asia...