Important Research

Pathogens and Politics: Further Evidence That Parasite Prevalence Predicts Authoritarianism (2013)

If indeed parasite stress has unique causal implications for authoritarian governance, then disease-eradication programs may not only have direct consequences for human health, they may also have indirect consequences for individual rights, civil liberties, and political freedoms… There may also be implications for reduced levels of xenophobia and other prejudices that are linked to authoritarian attitudes and for increased levels of creativity, innovation, and open-mindedness more generally.

The dualistic origin of human tumors (2018)

Based on these results, I propose a unified dualistic model to demonstrate the origin of human tumors. The tenet of this model includes four points, as follows.

1. Tumors originate from a stem cell at a specific developmental hierarchy, which can be achieved by dualistic origin:

  • dedifferentiation of the zygote formed by two haploid gametes (sexual reproduction) via the blastomere during normal development, or
  • transformation from damaged or aged mature somatic cells via a blastomere-like embryonic program (asexual reproduction).

2. Initiation of the tumor begins with a stem cell that has uncoupled the differentiation from the proliferation program which results in stem cell maturation arrest.

3. The developmental hierarchy at which stem cells arrest determines the degree of malignancy: the more primitive the level at which stem cells arrest, the greater the likelihood of the tumor being malignant.

4. Environmental factors and intrinsic genetic or epigenetic alterations represent the risk factors or stressors that facilitate stem cell arrest and somatic cell dedifferentiation. However, they, per se, are not the driving force of tumorigenesis.

Thus, the birth of a tumor can be viewed as a triad that originates from a stem cell via dedifferentiation through a blastomere or blastomere-like program, which then differentiates along Waddington’s landscape, and arrests at a developmental hierarchy. Blocking the PGCC-mediated dedifferentiation process and inducing their differentiation may represent a novel alternative approach to eliminate the tumor occurrence and therapeutic resistance.