How much of our lives are due to chance and how much of it is due to our choices? In biology, we learn that a series of transcription, translation, and replication make us who we are, and random errors in the coding process could be problematic.
Biological determinism is the idea that our physical and mental traits are determined at conception by the genes we inherit from our parents. Yet, life is not wholly deterministic. We are not just a product of our parents but our environment as well. Research has shown that the developmental process is adaptive and can be influenced by the environment.
In this issue, Dr. Salam Soliman informs us of how environmental input can affect children’s development and how trauma-informed interventions can repair childhood trauma (p.22). We also learn how science has enabled us to alter what life throws at us. Researchers from Singapore have found how intervening early in pregnancy by providing a certain drug can prevent Zaki Syndrome, a genetic disorder hindering prenatal development of several organs (p.50).
Also in line with early intervention, we have an interview with Ruby E Dewi from MediLux Biosciences to share about the prevalence of tuberculosis in Asia and how the company’s novel dye would be a gamechanger for tuberculosis diagnosis (p.28).
In Columns, we take a deeper look with Dr. Galileo Violini on Italy’s contagion data and consider if there is a connection between Italy’s R-value and vaccination rate (p.16).
Finally, in our News section, some exciting research highlights include discovering how our gut microbiota induces the secretion of antibodies in breastmilk (p.51), a cell sensor for safety screenings that scans like a barcode (p.54), and a new beetle-inspired magnetic demulsifier to treat oily wastewater (p.14).