Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:19 pm
English critic Samuel Johnson once said of William Shakespeare "that his drama is the mirror of life." Now the Bard's words have been translated into life's most basic language. British scientists have stored all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on tiny stretches of DNA.
It all started with two men in a pub. Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, both scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, were drinking beer and discussing a problem.
Pediatric leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. There are about 3,000 new cases in the United States every year, typically in children between the ages of four and six.
With treatment, about three-quarters of affected children are able to beat the disease.
But for those with what’s known as “high risk” leukemia, the odds of survival are much worse.
Washington University pediatric oncologist Dr. Todd Druley has been trying to use genetics to understand why some leukemia is so hard to treat. He spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra.