Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

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For the Week Ending August 25, 2019. 

RIP Lianne Russell

The reason technicians routinely ask if you might be pregnant before giving you an X-ray is due to the work of this geneticist, who discovered that prenatal exposure to radiation could cause genetic defects in mice fetuses. She fled the Nazis and was allowed into this country, where she spent her distinguished career studying genetics in mice at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. She died last month at the age of 95. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is inspiring that she was so successful when not many women had careers in science, and her work has enormous practical applications that benefited humanity.

She has her Mother’s Laugh

Carl Zimmer’s book on heredity just won the communications award from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Read more here.  

This is important for you because Zimmer is excellent at explaining complicated ideas like how our understanding of heredity has become more nuanced as we learn more about both genetics and cultures.

Period poverty

Too many girls in this world have to skip school because they don’t have access to, or can’t afford, menstrual products. And many of the disposable products on the market are terrible for the environment. Periods have long been a taboo subject, but activists tackling these two issues are changing that. Read more here.

This is important for you because after you give birth and start bleeding again, you’ll have the opportunity to manage your period with degradable, not disposable, products.

Sex selection by sperm

People doing IVF have the ability to choose which fetus to implant based on sex (and other genetic factors). Now, it has become much easier to distinguish X-chromosome bearing sperm from Y-chromosome bearing sperm (in mice). The X bearing sperm will make girl babies, and the Y bearing sperm will make boys. Read more here.

This is important for you because it is a brave new world out there.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was What Do Baby Tears Mean? Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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