July 05, 2005

Science Essay Focuses on Sz, Smoking, Genes

The winning entry of the 2005 EMBO Science Writing Prize explains some of the complex interactions between schizophrenia, genes, and smoking to a non-scientific target audience. The topic this year was "Genes and Behavior."

While the subject and facts themselves are non-fiction, the piece is written in an anecdotal style, as a conversation between a patient's wife and a doctor. It helps to increase the readability and interest of the piece without taking away from the scientific content of the doctor's explanations. Although it will not make anyone an expert on the complexity of genes and schizophrenia (the piece is quite short, and quite specific with its examples), it will provide an excellent example of how scientists believe that environmental factors such as smoking may interact with genetic factors already in place to produce and/or exacerbate schizophrenia.

The author of the winning entry, Edwin Harold Rydberg of the Istituto di Ricerche di Biologia Molecolare (IRBM) P. Angeletti in Rome, Italy, explained a bit of how he hit upon his topic:

"During the study of the human alpha7 acetylcholine receptor [a postdoctoral fellowship project in a laboratory in Israel], I learned of the interesting connection between smoking, the alpha7 receptor and schizophrenia. This seemed such an unusual and unexpected combination of factors that it has remained with me ever since."

The winning entry is available for free download at the following address: http://www.embo.org/press/embo_2005_rydberg.pdf. It is a PDF file, so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. (Download a free copy of adobe acrobat reader at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

More about EMBO (http://www.embo.org/organisation/index.html), an organization in Europe dedicated to promoting molecular biology in European society through research funding, communication, and education.

Original source article: http://tinyurl.com/74mud


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