From old moms to plastic bottles

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By The Staff

Science is full of unexpected discoveries, some coming at decidedly awkward times.

Just as there can be a breakthrough in negotiating the end to a war that comes to everyone’s surprise on a major holiday, or intense spurts in which a writer completes a book in a week, there are times a scientist may feel awash in troubles but then see the world afresh as the facts fall into place in a new way.

An element of chance enters science, just as it does everyday life. But, as Louis Pasteur noted, chance favors the mind that’s prepared to understand the world from a new angle.

Here’s the story of a prepared mind and the discovery that may have major implications for our plastic water bottles and other food packaging.

Prof. Patricia Hunt is a genetics expert who  investigates how and why older moms are more likely to give birth to babies with a number of birth defects. Many of us women don’t know it, but the tiny eggs in our ovaries are actually as old as we are – we don’t make them afresh as life goes along.

And the older those egg cells are, the more likely they are to have certain problems. To be blunt, older moms run a greater risk of having babies with certain birth defects.

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