When the IB started to expand in the UK it quickly became clear that there was a dearth of textbooks. HL could get by with A Level texts but there was nothing for SL. I decided to write an SL text and then wrote to a number of schools in Europe to see if they would be interested. It was basic, photocopied, and in black white. Surprisingly it sold well. At about the same time OSC was beginning and one of the Maths teachers, who taught at the same school as me, suggested to the director that the students would benefit from simple revision guides. He would write the Maths ones and he asked me if I would write the Biology ones. This struck me as a superb idea and I set to work, first on the Core guides and then the Options. Students often had difficulty with Genetics so guides to help students with this followed, and finally a guide to help with IA. Over the years working with OSC these guides have come to look much more attractive with improved illustrations and feedback from students on Revision Courses has been very positive.

It is a very exciting time to be a Biologist at the moment with so many new developments and opportunities.

Did you know you probably have some Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome? Information just published (November) increases the number of loci attributed to this ancient DNA and which probably helped modern humans adapt to life outside Africa.

Over the years plant breeding has led to increased crop yields but this has largely plateaued. This month (November) a paper has been published on how the photosynthetic pathway in tobacco plants has been genetically modified leading to an increased yield of around 16%. The next stage will be to transfer this technology to valuable crop plants such as rice. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have often received bad press, but we must keep an open mind on this technology as it develops.