It Was the Best Day of His Life. Then Everything Changed.
Six months after receiving his ALS diagnosis, ex-football star Eric Stevens is in the biggest battle of his life. The Big Game of 2010 didn’t start off well for Cal fullback Eric Stevens. The Bears lost to Stanford, 48–14. But on his way back to his apartment he ran into Amanda Glass. They stopped and […]
Lab Notes: A New Class Brings CRISPR to the People
Berkeley is teaching the public how to edit genes. But are we ready? The announcement came in June. Berkeley Extension, the continuing education arm of UC Berkeley, was offering its first-ever introductory course—CRISPR Genome Editing: From Biology to Technology—on the revolutionary new tool that allows scientists to make precise edits in the genome. A lab […]
Meet CRISPR: Humanity’s Shiny New Tool
A technology we took from bacteria is poised to transform our world. One of biology’s wilder facts is that we’re all family. You and me, sure, but also me and a mushroom. Triceratops shared genes with you. So does the virus that makes you cough, and a rosebush. Bacteria left us on the tree of […]
Flash Fiction: “A Mercy, A Sport”
Imagining our gene-edited future It was about time! We’d finally figured it out! What would this grand experiment emit? Every newborn had been subjected to the question: What happens if we cut out this sequence or that one? We’d been doing these CRISPR tests for years, so as to evolve using those Clustered Regularly Interspaced […]
Kiss Me, I’m 61.5% Irish
Home ancestry tests may tell us more, and less, than we wanted to know. THE YEAR HAS BEEN A JUMBLE FOR ME. Long story short: I was Portuguese, then I wasn’t, then I was again. It all started after my wife and I spat in vials and mailed the samples off to a laboratory, where […]
Intolerable Genius: Berkeley’s Most Controversial Nobel Laureate
Kary Mullis revolutionized biology and pissed everyone off. Now that he’s dead, how should we remember him?
‘Tisn’t the Season
If there’s one piece of advice essential for survival at Cal, it is this: bring layers. Newcomers to the Golden State (of which Berkeley has many, the student body now representing 74 countries and all 50 states) are quickly disabused of the beachy, bikini-clad stereotype of California sold to them in song lyrics. Instead, they […]
Blue is an Elusive Color. One Artist Just Invented a New Shade.
Olga Alexopoulou adds Quantum Blue to her palette.
Blood Work: The Citizen Sleuth Using Genealogy to ID the Dead
Margaret Press is transforming forensic genealogy one Doe at a time. ON APRIL 24, 1981, THE BODY OF A YOUNG WOMAN with auburn braids and a fringed jacket was discovered off the side of a road in Troy, Ohio. She had been strangled to death only hours before. Authorities took DNA samples but couldn’t find […]
D.A. by Day, Drag Queen by Night
This lawyer has a secret. Her name’s Victoria. I was doing drag on the weekends when I was working as a prosecutor at Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. It was a very schizophrenic lifestyle. I was considered one of the best trial lawyers in the D.A.’s office. And then I would shift gears on […]
Fiscal responsibility, seismic upgrades, and athletics It was just over ten years ago that the State of California cut funding for higher education as part of a financial retrenchment in response to the Great Recession. Ensuing tuition increases helped to partially close the resulting budgetary gap, but the financial foundations of the campus were weakened […]
Editor’s Note: The Genetics Issue
Welcome to our brave new world. Brave New World author Aldous Huxley came to Berkeley (his son’s alma mater) in 1962 and delivered a speech on campus entitled “The Ultimate Revolution.” It ended as follows: “Our business is to be aware of what is happening, and then to use our imagination to see what might […]