I think that communicating about the science we do should become a part of the scientific process. In March 2013 I joined a select group of scientists, journalists, PR representatives, and science writers at a NESCent Catalysis meeting to discuss how to facilitate interactions between those producing science, and those publicizing science, particularly in relation to the topic of evolution.


  • December 2014 - Interviewed about co-organized session, "The X-factor of Complex Disease," at ASHG 2014.
  • November 2014 - Interviewed about bioinformatics research as part of a series with notable bioinformaticians.
  • October 2014 - Interviewed about genomic testing as new resources surface for Phoenix Children's Hospital.
  • October 2014 - Interviewed about Open Access publishing. 
  • October 2014 - Profiled on for "Cracking the (bio)code." - profile here
  • September 2014 - Breaking Bio #65 "Sex chromosomes & Math for Biologists with Dr. Melissa Wilson Sayres" - watch here.
  • April 2014 - "56 different points on the gender spectrum" panel discussion at The Conference on World Affairs - watch here.
  • March 2014 - Interviewed by Maria Armoudian on The Scholar's Circle, NPR, along with Jeremy Nathans, about the X and Y chromosomes. - listen here.
  • January 2014 - Interviewed about Y chromosomes by Jonathan Green of ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) Radio National. - listen here
  • August 2013 - "Sex, male bias, and degeneration". Invited public lecture hosted by Bay Area Skeptics, Berkeley, CA.


Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus? Review highlights sex differences in health and disease

September 11, 2020

Males and females share the vast majority of their genomes. Only a sprinkling of genes, located on the so-called X and Y sex chromosomes, differ between the sexes. Nevertheless, the activities of our genes—their expression in cells and tissues—generate profound distinctions between males and females. Not only do the sexes differ in outward appearance, their differentially expressed genes strongly affect the risk, incidence, prevalence, severity and age-of-onset of many diseases,...

Dragon DNA: sequencing the genome of the rare tuatara

August 6, 2020

New Zealand is home to an astonishingly rich web of life, with many indigenous plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth. Even amid such exceptional biodiversity, however, the tuatara stands out as one of the most remarkable of New Zealand’s creatures. Tuatara and related species flourished hundreds of millions of years ago, during the Mesozoic era, once inhabiting a landmass comprised of Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian...

Women caught in a pickle by their own immune systems

June 19, 2019

Women get autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, eight times more than men do. On the other hand, women have a smaller risk of getting nonreproductive cancers such as melanoma and colon, kidney and lung cancer. And while there are some exciting developments in cancer treatments, such as immunotherapies, research is showing that women are responding more favorably than men to this type of intervention.  So why is there such a big difference...

ASU appoints world-renowned evolutionary biologist to lead new Biodesign Center

September 6, 2017

Cross-disciplinary center studies key forces behind evolution to empower life sciences The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has announced today the appointment of world-renowned evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch, Ph.D., as the director of an ambitious new effort to advance the u­nderstanding of evolution across all scales of life, from whole populations to the key forces at work deep within a cell. The overarching mission of Lynch’s new Biodesign Center for Mechanisms...

Male mutations are driving evolution. How’s that working out?

October 4, 2016

The word mutation conjures many images in the popular mind, virtually all of them negative. Mutations in the human genome cause crippling birth abnormalities and are the source of innumerable genetic diseases, from hemophilia and sickle cell anemia to congenital heart defects and cancer. Mutations, however, are also the engines of change and account for the astonishing diversity of life on earth. They provide the raw material—the clay—from which Nature sculpts the living world. Over...

Happy DNA Day!

April 25, 2016

Students and researchers from the Melissa Wilson Sayres’ lab, of the ASU School of Life Sciences and Biodesign Institute, celebrate national DNA day in style by providing the opportunity to extract DNA from bananas. If you missed out on the fun, you can do your own banana DNA experiment at home with salt, dishwashing soap and rubbing alcohol. April 25 was designated DNA day to celebrate two very important milestones in the history of DNA science. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick...

Modern DNA reveals ancient male population explosions linked to migration and technology

April 25, 2016

The largest-ever study of global genetic variation in the human Y chromosome has uncovered the hidden genetic history of men. Research published today in Nature Genetics reveals that Y chromosomes in all men can be traced to a single man who lived about 190,000 years ago, and explosions in male population numbers across five continents occurred at times between 55,000 and 4,000 years ago. “One of the most interesting things we identified is these local bursts in...

Gila monster ready for it's genomic close-up

April 4, 2016

It was her very first encounter with a strangely beautiful orange and black beaded Arizona native, the Gila monster, one of only two venomous lizards in the world, that convinced Melissa Wilson Sayres to divert from her 11-year path of studying mammal genomes to explore a less-studied reptilian genome.  One of Wilson Sayres’ main interests is in studying sex chromosomes. So when, she found out that a Gila monster’s sex determination system is the opposite of humans –  where...

Blurred lines: Human sex chromosome swapping occurs more often than previously thought

March 24, 2016

It turns out that the rigid “line in the sand” over which the human sex chromosomes---the Y and X--- stop at to avoid crossing over is a bit blurrier than previously thought. Contrary to the current scientific consensus, Arizona State University assistant professor Melissa Wilson Sayres has led a research team that has shown that X and Y DNA swapping may occur much more often. And this promiscuous swapping, may in turn, aid in our understanding of human history and diversity, health...

How rare is a rare disease?

February 15, 2016

In an article featured on the Center for Evolution and Medicine's new EvMed blog, ASU assistant professor Melissa Wilson Sayres shines the spotlight on so-called orphan diseases, diseases so rare that they may affect fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. But as she points out, when one works out the math, those with rare diseases may not have to feel so alone anymore in our increasingly growing and connected world.  "There are more than 7000 rare...