aren’t exactly sure how many new mutations crop up each generation
in humans—for years, the standard estimate was round 100-200, but
using whole genome information from two families, has put it at about
30-50. And the rate of mutation is more than a curiosity: Seeing how
many mutations separate us from cousin species and multiplying that
by the rate of change is one way scientists measure the time since we
diverged from each other—a “molecular clock.” So that new,
lower mutation rate—30-50 changes per generation—implies that our
common ancestor with chimps was not 5 million years ago, as had been
thought, but 7 million years. (For
The Race to Protect Sweet Corn
Breeding a variety that can withstand disease and taste better, too.
Plants Fight for Their Lives
As arable land disappears, a genetic tweak might secure the world’s food supply.
The Rise of RNA Therapeutics
DNA mutations are hard to fix. Scientists are trying another approach.
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