All in 100 Ideas

Mighty Mouse

Mice are arguably the perfect model organism for human biology, putting on their little white furry lab coats to help researchers understand and treat a huge range of human ailments.

Hunting for Huntington's

The year is 1872. A young American doctor, George Huntington, has just started his career, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who were general practitioners in the prosperous Hamptons area of New York. Graduating from Columbia University the year before, at the tender age of 21, George is keen to make an impression on the medical world.

Nobel viruses

It may sound strange, but a chicken virus has won three Nobel prizes. Obviously, not by putting on a teeny tiny lab coat and safety specs, but the Rous sarcoma virus, which causes cancer in chickens, has been the starting point for startling discoveries that have changed our understanding of genetics, molecular biology, cancer and more. In fact, viruses have played a key part in at least 16 Nobels over the past century. Not bad work for tiny bags of genes loitering on the edge of life.

Spidergoats!

What’s stronger than steel, tougher than bulletproof Kevlar, can withstand temperatures ranging from 200 Celsius down to minus forty, can stretch up to five times its length without breaking, and is made by squeezing goop out of an arachnid’s backside? The answer is of course spider silk – one of the most remarkable substances produced by a living organism that we know of.