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Editor: Bijal Trivedi

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DNA and the Roots of Hair Roots

Researchers have discovered one genetic recipe for this family’s thick dark hair.Source: National Cancer Institute, NIH; Bill Branson, photographer.

It’s intriguing to find the roots of physical traits: skin color, height, and those weird tufts of hair on Uncle Mike’s ears. We’re all curious to know why we look the way we do. But

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Of Mice, Men, and Medicine

Will a chip challenge the mouse?Source: Wyss Institute and Bill Branson, NIH

The humble laboratory mouse has taught us a phenomenal amount about embryonic development, disease, and evolution. And, for decades, the pharmaceutical industry has relied on these critters to test the safety and efficacy of new drug candidates. If it works in mice,

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‘No Ouch’ Vaccine Patch

A vaccine patch and a view of the “needles” using scanning electron microscopy.Credit: Peter DeMuth/Wellcome Trust

This might be a new way to get a shot. Funded in part by the NIH, this vaccine patch [1] is coated in a thin film that literally melts into the skin when the patch is applied. The

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Taking a Snapshot of the Human Immune System

Source: National Cancer Institute Visuals Online, NIH

There are numerous tests to gauge the health of your heart. But no such widely accepted test exists for the many parts of the immune system. How can we tell if the immune system is strong or weak? Or quantify how badly it’s malfunctioning when we suffer

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Who Knew? Gut Bacteria Contribute to Malnutrition

Photo of an African girl with thin limbs and a distended abdomen.

A child suffering from kwashiorkor.Source: CDC/Phil

Here’s a surprising result from a new NIH-funded study: a poor diet isn’t the only cause of severe malnutrition. It seems that a ‘bad’ assortment of microbes in the intestine can conspire with a nutrient poor diet to promote and perpetuate malnutrition [1].

Most of us don’t spend time thinking

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