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Genetics

132 articles
  • Reading Genomes: The Key to Life and to Thwarting Death

    Genome sequencing machines are essential to preventing viral outbreaks, but funding is key.

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    The Rise of RNA Therapeutics

    DNA mutations are hard to fix. Scientists are trying another approach.

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    The Hidden Link Between “Genetic Nurture” and Educational Achievement

    The phrase “Look down your nose” comes from a time when aristocrats were taller than commoners due to their superior nutrition. European elites would literally look down on their inferiors. So it shouldn’t be hard to imagine the shock 19th-century aristocrats experienced, across the Atlantic, encountering well-fed American laborers, artisans, and farmers, who would look […]

  • The Complex Truth About ‘Junk DNA’

    Genomes hold immense quantities of noncoding DNA. Some of it is essential for life, some seems useless, and some has its own agenda.

  • DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth.

    The DNA of some viruses doesn’t use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this exception is possible and hints that it could be more common than we think.

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    Data Crunchers to the Rescue

    Genetic diseases that puzzle lab scientists are being solved by quantitative biologists.

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    Data Crunchers to the Rescue

    Genetic diseases that puzzle lab scientists are being solved by quantitative biologists.

  • Some Proteins Change Their Folds to Perform Different Jobs

    Unusual proteins that can quickly fold into different shapes provide cells with a novel regulatory mechanism.

  • The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes

    Mistletoes have all but shut down the powerhouses of their cells. Scientists are still trying to understand the plants’ unorthodox survival strategy.

  • Scientists Find Vital Genes Evolving in Genome’s Junkyard

    Even genes essential for life can be caught in an evolutionary arms race that forces them to change or be replaced.

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    Why We Judge People Based on Their Relatives

    Imagine you’ve moved into a new neighborhood. You and your new neighbor, Jack, quickly build a friendly rapport and, after a couple weeks, you give him a set of keys, in case of emergency. One day, returning his hammer you borrowed, you see a young guy stumbling out of Jack’s front door, a laptop in […]

  • Brain Cell DNA Refolds Itself to Aid Memory Recall

    Researchers see structural changes in genetic material that allow memories to strengthen when remembered.

  • Nobel Chemistry Prize Awarded for CRISPR ‘Genetic Scissors’

    Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of CRISPR/Cas9 genetic editing.

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    Sex Is Driven by the Impetus to Change

    Hooking up is nature’s way for a species to overcome a bad genomic match.

  • Extra DNA May Make Unlikely Hybrid Fish Possible

    The unintentional creation of “sturddlefish” hybrids may illuminate the genomic mechanisms that govern whether species can interbreed.

  • Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

    Jellyfish didn’t need novel genes to take an evolutionary leap in complexity.

  • Cosmic Rays May Explain Life’s Bias for Right-Handed DNA

    Cosmic rays may have given right-handed genetic helixes an evolutionary edge at the beginning of life’s history.

  • Is Farmed Salmon Really Salmon?

    The staple fish is having an identity crisis.

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    How Genetic Mutations Turned the Coronavirus Deadly

    Tracing the path of a pandemic.

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    How Your Body Knows What Time It Is

    Uncovering the molecules that keep our mind and body in a daily rhythm.

  • We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance

    Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.

  • Aging Is a Communication Breakdown

    Genes that can’t express themselves may be hallmarks of cancer.

  • New Clues About ‘Ambigram’ Viruses With Strange Reversible Genes

    For decades, scientists have been intrigued by tiny viruses whose genetic material can be read both forward and backward. New research begins to explain this puzzling property.

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    The John, Paul, George, and Ringo of Genes

    A pictorial map of the genes that unite all life.

  • Making Sense of the Genome, at Last

    Computational biology is exposing hidden patterns of evolution and disease in our DNA

  • The Genome in Turmoil

    Hope your week went well. It might have changed your genetics.

  • Why Sex Is Mostly Binary but Gender Is a Spectrum

    A short genetic history of one of the most profound dimensions of human identity.

  • It’s the End of the Gene As We Know It

    We are not nearly as determined by our genes as once thought.

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    This Famous Aging Researcher Doesn’t Want Us to Live Forever

    In the Netflix anime series Knights of Sidonia, humankind is marooned in a spaceship 500,000-strong, refugees constantly on the run from shapeshifting aliens who destroyed Earth over 1,000 years ago. Both the patriarchy and poverty have been smashed. Advances in genetic engineering have allowed androgynous individuals to proliferate and asexual reproduction to become commonplace. Everybody […]

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    Aging Is a Communication Breakdown

    Genes that can’t express themselves may be hallmarks of cancer.

  • Artificial Intelligence Finds Ancient ‘Ghosts’ in Modern DNA

    With the help of deep learning techniques, paleoanthropologists find evidence of long-lost branches on the human family tree.

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    Gene Drives Reach Mammals

    A new genetic technology that can quickly change entire populations gets broader.

  • Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

    Jellyfish didn’t need novel genes to take an evolutionary leap in complexity.

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    Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. An overarching theme in the story of evolution, at least over the past half billion years or so, is rising complexity. There are other themes, of course, but life has undoubtedly become more complicated since its origin. Early cells globbed together to form multicellular coalitions. Those developed more complex bodies and lifestyles as […]

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    It’s the End of the Gene As We Know It

    We are not nearly as determined by our genes as once thought.

  • Unexpected Diversity Found in 16 New Lab Mouse Genomes

    The availability of new genomes for 16 diverse strains of laboratory mice will help accelerate research into the genetic underpinnings of human traits and diseases.

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    What’s Wrong with Bananas

    How industrial agriculture stole sex from our most important fresh fruit crop.

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    Why the Earth Has Fewer Species Than We Think

    A primer on the epigenome.

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    How Genes Refract Chance

    How remarkable, I thought, that science is fulfilling, in some sense, that ancient aspiration to decipher some measure of our personal nature and fate. In February, for my birthday, I was gifted a 23andMe genetic test kit. I enjoyed this coincidence: Here was a technology, contra astrology, that would have some real purchase, however limited, […]

  • CRISPR Gene-Editing Pioneers Win Kavli Prize for Nanoscience

    The inventors of a “Swiss army knife” for genome editing received prestigious honors, as did pioneering scientists in astrophysics and neuroscience.

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    What’s Worse: Unwanted Mutations or Unwanted Humans?

    Three of the rare Przewalski’s horses that now roam the area near the Chernobyl nuclear plant.Photograph by Sergey Gaschak After a fatal series of errors and malfunctions in the early morning of April 26, 1986, the core of the Chernobyl nuclear facility melted down and then exploded, killing 31 workers at the plant. The accident […]

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    This Famous Aging Researcher Doesn’t Want Us to Live Forever

    In the Netflix anime series Knights of Sidonia, humankind is marooned in a spaceship 500,000-strong, refugees constantly on the run from shapeshifting aliens who destroyed Earth over 1,000 years ago. Both the patriarchy and poverty have been smashed. Advances in genetic engineering have allowed androgynous individuals to proliferate and asexual reproduction to become commonplace. Everybody […]

  • Chronological Clues to Life’s Early History Lurk in Gene Transfers

    To date the branches on the evolutionary tree of life, researchers are looking at horizontal gene transfers among ancient microorganisms, which once seemed only to muddle the record.

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    Social Inequality Leaves a Genetic Mark

    When genetic structure follows social structure.

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    Heredity Beyond the Gene

    What you pass on to your kids isn’t always in your genetic code.

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    It’s Time to Make Human-Chimp Hybrids

    The humanzee is both scientifically possible and morally defensible.

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    How Hidden Social Contexts Influence Your Genetics

    Educational attainment has some qualitatively unique features that we’re going to have to be sensitive to when we attempt to study the genetics of it.Photograph by Joey Yee / Flickr What if a wound of yours, a pierced ear, say, healed at a different rate depending on who was around you? A 2017 study explored […]

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    Why Your Roses Smell Nice

    Hint—it’s mostly coincidence.

  • Tissue Engineers Hack Life’s Code for 3-D Folded Shapes

    Mechanical tension between tethered cells cues developing tissues to fold. Researchers can now program synthetic tissue to make coils, cubes and rippling plates.

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    You’re Descended from Royalty and So Is Everybody Else

    Anybody you can name from ancient history is in your family tree.

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    The Quiet Revolution of CRISPR

    CRISPR’s not on the cusp of anything.Wikicommons How many diseases could humans treat if the DNA in troublesome cells could be edited within the body? Half? Most? How about “absolutely everything”? That was the answer Irina Conboy, a bioengineer at U.C. Berkeley, recently gave to New Scientist. Her optimism illustrates the promise, announced three years […]

  • New Model Warns About CRISPR Gene Drives in the Wild

    Models show that evolving resistance won't stop aggressive standard gene drives from spreading.

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    Frankenstein in the Age of CRISPR-Cas9

      The so-called “year without a summer,” 1816, was bleak, if not strangely gothic. Mount Tambora in Indonesia had erupted the year before, pitching volcanic ash into the atmosphere and obscuring the sun. Torrential rains pressed deep into the year, resulting in global crop failures. The birds quieted down by midday, as darkness descended, and […]

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    Central Park Mice Don’t Get Out Much

    The genetic stories of New York City rats and mice.

  • Cell Atlases Reveal Biology’s Frontiers

    New techniques expose unexpected diversity within seemingly uniform tissues.

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    How to Weed Creationism Out of Schools

    A 2008 nationally representative survey of U.S. high school biology teachers found that nearly half of the responders agreed or strongly agreed that creationism or intelligent design was “a valid, scientific alternative” to evolution.Image by José-Manuel Benitos / Wikicommons One of the latest victims of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime in Turkey isn’t a journalist, […]

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    The Unbearable Weirdness of CRISPR

    Francisco Mojica in a lab at the University of Alicante in Spain.Photograph courtesy of the University of Alicante. When Francisco Mojica was 25, he supported himself by tracking bacteria in the Mediterranean off the coast of a tourist haven in southeastern Spain. At the time, he was a doctoral candidate at the University of Alicante, […]

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    Does Having Kids Make Mothers Age Faster?

    Evidence is stacking up on both sides of an age-old debate.

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    Ingenious: Dalton Conley

    The Princeton sociologist explains why race is not a scientific category.

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    What Both the Left and Right Get Wrong About Race

    Setting the scientific record straight on race, IQ, and success.

  • The Unbearable Weirdness of CRISPR

    How the genome of a salt-loving microbe led to a world-changing technology.

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    The Weird Age of “Previvors” Is Coming

    Siddhartha Mukherjee has an arresting thought experiment: What if, along with your familiar elementary-school report card, you had a genetic report card—one that read out your propensity for getting each letter grade in each subject? If you get an A in math, and your genetic report card says that your propensity for getting that grade […]

  • From a Pink Squiggle to the Human Genome Project

    This Yellowstone bacterium sparked PCR, one of the great advances in genetics.

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    Why Evolution Is Ageist

    Genetic mutation changes from adaptive to dangerous after reproductive age.

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    Born Lucky: The Genetics of the Four-Leaf Clover

    Each year, from 1913 to 1917, the psychologist Edmund S. Conklin would hand out a questionnaire to his new psychology students. Conklin wanted to see which superstitious habits or beliefs were the most and least enduring. He found that just over a quarter of college students believed in lucky four-leaf clovers, making it the second […]

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    Spark of Science: Pardis Sabeti

    The computational geneticist explains why she chose research over being a doctor.

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    We Are All Princes, Paupers, and Part of the Human Family

    I recently discovered that my 10-times-great-grandfather bought a good chunk of Brooklyn from the Lenape Indians. He was one of the first Dutch landowners on this continent, a man who had run a laundry bleaching business in Holland but had traveled under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company to become a farmer in […]

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    Why Sex Is Mostly Binary but Gender Is a Spectrum

    A short genetic history of one of the most profound dimensions of human identity.

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    From a Pink Squiggle to the Human Genome Project

    This Yellowstone bacterium sparked PCR, one of the great advances in genetics.

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    The Man Who Kicked Off the Biotech Revolution

    The $325 billion biotech industry began with the discovery of an enzyme to slice DNA.

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    Gene Editing Must Reckon With the Unforeseen

    Almost exactly a year ago, I attended the International Summit of Human Gene Editing at the National Academy of Sciences. It was organized in part by Jennifer Doudna, arguably one of the inventors of Crispr-Cas9. It’s a new biotech tool—cheap, easy to use, and reliable—that allows thousands of scientists around the world to modify genes […]

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    The Case for Bringing Back the Passenger Pigeon

    One geneticist’s quest to de-extinct what was once one of the world’s most abundant birds.

  • The Cell’s Backup Genetic Instructions

    The cell is equipped with multiple redundancies in case something goes wrong. Researchers have begun to map these systems.

  • Why Some Genetic Miscues Are Helpful

    A new look at the reasons why organisms missing pairs of genes sometimes do much better than normal.

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    When Pseudosex Is Better Than the Real Thing

    What we can learn about evolution from species who thrive without sexual reproduction.

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    We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance

    Genetic engineering will bring us new Bolts and Shaqs.

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    Martian Colonists Could Be Genetically Engineered for Democracy

    It sounds like science fiction: A citizenry genetically engineered to be democratic. It’s not implausible. Last month, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report touting the promise of a biological engineering technique called gene drive—particularly for dealing with public health problems such as the Zika virus, malaria, and dengue fever. Last year, Anthony James, […]

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    Copyrighting DNA Is a Bad Idea

    A few years ago, molecular biologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, along with a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, were the first to file a patent for CRISPR-Cas9. It’s a DNA-editing technology adapted from the prokaryote immune system. Cas9 is a protein that can seek out and “cut” targeted gene strands […]

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    The Immortality Hype

    Despite the hyperbole, private funding is changing the science of aging for the better.

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    Epigenetics Has Become Dangerously Fashionable

    For the past few years, social scientists have been buzzing over a particular topic in molecular biology—gene regulation. The hype has been building steam for some time, but recently, it rocketed to the forefront of public discussion due to a widely circulated piece in the New Yorker. Articles on the topic are almost always fascinating: […]

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    This Man Is Genetically Altering Ecosystems to Save Them from Climate Change

    On a chilly afternoon last October, at a University of Northern Arizona conference, Thomas Whitham, a plant geneticist, proposed a plan to save hundreds of species from extinction. For the last several years, Whitham said, he and his colleagues had used a series of experimental gardens to study how plants are being affected by warming […]

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    Does Stress Speed Up Evolution?

    Getting control of the molecular mechanisms that drive rapid mutations.

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    Sex Is a Coping Mechanism

    Did sexual reproduction evolve to keep up with mitochondrial mutation?

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    The Secret, Stressful Stories of Fossils

    A new field called paleoepigenetics is probing how evolution responds to sudden stress.

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    How Your Embryo Knew What To Do

    The forgotten story of the woman who discovered how animals get their shape.

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    Science Is Proving That Tragic Curses Are Real

    Epigenetics and behaviorism suggest the ancient Greeks were right.

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    What If Tinder Showed Your IQ?

    A report from a future where genetic engineering has sabotaged society.

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    This Gender Mystery Starts Nine Months Before Birth

    The ratio of boys to girls at conception has been misunderstood for centuries.

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    Red-Eyed Magpies, White-Speckled Ravens & Other Birds of Unusual Feathers

    “This here is my favorite cabinet,” Hein van Grouw tells me as we walk around the back rooms of the Natural History Museum at Tring, 30 miles northwest of London as the crow flies. He pulls the steel double-doors open, revealing a menagerie of stuffed birds. On the top shelves there are snipes, rails, and […]

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    Welcome to the Unpredictable Era of Editing Human Embryos

    Headlines and apocalyptic notions about designer babies proliferated last month after Chinese scientists published the results of a curious set of experiments on human embryos. The researchers were looking to understand whether gene-editing technology could correct, before birth, a malformed gene that can cause a potentially devastating blood disease. They found that the method introduced new […]

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    Why Our Genome and Technology Are Both Riddled With “Crawling Horrors”

    “Add little to little and there will be a big pile.” —Ovid When we build complex technologies, despite our best efforts and our desire for clean logic, they often end up being far messier than we intend. They often end up kluges: inelegant solutions that work just well enough. And a reason they end up being […]

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    Blessed by Science: How Genetic Medicine Changed a Strictly Religious Community

    A group of Hasidic Jews walking the streets of Brooklyndiluvi.com Anna i Adria via Wikipedia In 1983, Yosef Eckstein an ultra-orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn, New York, had reason to be happy: His wife had just given birth to their fifth child. But the couple’s happiness was short-lived: The child was soon diagnosed with Tay–Sachs disease, […]

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    The Disease That Turned Us Into Genetic-Information Junkies

    For many people, 1969 felt like a year when technology could solve all of our problems, a sentiment that reached a crescendo with the Apollo 11 moon landing. But back on Earth, Michael Kaback was a faculty member in pediatrics1 at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and he was frustrated. Kaback had helped some of his […]

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    If You Were a Secret Message, Where in the Human Genome Would You Hide?

    Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) uses the VLA (Very Large Array) to look for alien signals. But that’s not the only way. Warner Brothers When people think about SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, they imagine messages sent via radio—Jodie Foster tuning antennas, hoping to pick up signals from the “billions and billions” of star systems […]

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    The Slower, Gentler Version of IVF

    Microscope image showing selection of an embryo for IVFScience Photo Library – ZEPHYR via Getty Images For women who have trouble conceiving, being told they’ll need assistance is often accompanied with a sense of dread: what they hoped would be a natural, quick, and inexpensive process (what’s cheaper than natural conception?) can change into a […]

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    Big Data Helps Find the Achilles Heel of Each Individual Cancer

    In January, the pharmaceutical company Roche paid more than a billion dollars to buy about half of a small company called Foundation Medicine. Foundation has not invented any new drugs or life-saving devices. Most insurance companies won’t pay for its main product, and like a lot of biotech companies, it loses money. The big bucks are […]

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    Why Egg Freezing Is an Impossible Choice

    I don’t want to surrender to a lottery. But will I regret not playing?

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    Is DNA the Language of the Book of Life?

    Thinking of nucleobases as a long sequence of letters may contribute to the illusion that DNA is a language.Neil Palmer / CIAT via Flickr When we talk about genes, we often use expressions inherited from a few influential geneticists and evolutionary biologists, including Francis Crick, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins. These expressions depict DNA as […]

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    The Thrill of Defeat

    What Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner taught me about being scooped.

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    Your DNA Is Nothing Special

    It’s time to relax about genetic testing.

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    To Bring Back Extinct Species, We’ll Need to Change Our Own

    Passenger pigeon eggs at the Maine State MuseumBrandon Keim; displayed courtesy of Paula Work, registrar & curator of zoology at the museum The last passenger pigeon died just over a century ago, though they’ve lived on as symbols—of extinction’s awful finality, and also of a human carelessness so immense that it could exterminate without really […]

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    Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming

    Genetic engineering will one day create the smartest humans who have ever lived.

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    How a Zebra Mussel Convinced Me To Get a Vasectomy

    “It’s amazing what we let our teachers teach us.”

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    Watching the Birth of a New Breed: the Werewolf Cat

    A Lykoi kitten next to its normal-coated brother, who carries just one version of the Lykoi gene. It’s no accident that Lykois are bred with black cats. “If they have black as their base coats, they really have that werewolf look. Other base coats don’t look quite as striking,” he says. “An orange Lykoi cat […]

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    Carriers, Part 5: The Aftermath

    This is the final installment of a five-part series. First read Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 to get caught up.  Correction: The text about tests that can be done 10 weeks into pregnancy was changed to clarify the difference between CVS—an invasive test that is available now and can determine whether […]

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    Carriers, Part 4: The Results

    This is the fourth installment of a five-part series. First read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to get caught up; then go on to Part 5. Lauren R. Weinstein is a cartoonist, cartooning teacher, and avid gardener who lives in scenic Maplewood, New Jersey. She is currently working on a teenage memoir entitled How to Draw a […]

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    Carriers, Part 3: The Wait

    This is the third installment of a five-part series. First read Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up; then go on to Part 4 and Part 5. Lauren R. Weinstein is a cartoonist, cartooning teacher, and avid gardener who lives in scenic Maplewood, New Jersey. She is currently working on a teenage memoir entitled How to Draw […]

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    Carriers, Part 2: The Test

    This is the second installment of a five-part series. See Part 1 first; then go on to Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.  Lauren R. Weinstein is a cartoonist, cartooning teacher, and avid gardener who lives in scenic Maplewood, New Jersey. She is currently working on a teenage memoir entitled, How to Draw a Nose.

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    Carriers: A Webcomic on Health, Luck, and Life

    This is the first installment of a five-part series. Also see Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. * Correction: The text about the effects of cystic fibrosis has been changed to reflect the improved prognoses for babies born with CF, based on modern treatments. (The doctor originally predicted a likely lung transplant by […]

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    The Acquired Tastes of Foodies and Cockroaches

    How genes influence the animal palate.

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    Your Genetic Privacy Is Probably a Lost Cause

    Any cup you sip from could provide a sample bearing your DNA. dohtoor via Shutterstock Almost everywhere you go, you leave a bit of yourself behind—a hair, a fingernail clipping, a bit of skin, a few skin cells from your lips on a drinking cup. For a long time, that trace of you was little […]

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    Can Science Breed the Next Secretariat?

    How a “speed gene” test is stirring up horse racing and athletics.

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    What Chinese Medicine Has to Teach Us About New Mothers

    Pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period put women in peril, giving rise to precautions that gave them a sense of control, such as orienting the birthing room, charms and rituals, and burying a placenta.Vanessa Hua In a strip mall in the heart of Silicon Valley, the pregnant ladies were seeking out ancient Chinese […]

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    The Menu Says “Snapper.” Really?

    DNA barcodes could keep restaurants honest.

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    How Animals Use Smell to Send Coded Messages

    Dad was back. He played a little with the children, rubbed a few heads with his own, clawed at a wooden post, and then, standing erect with tail straight up, he backed towards a tree, sprayed, and left. The kids scampered over. They stood on their hind legs and carefully examined the spray—the family smell. […]

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    The Science of War

    How DNA puts a face on the missing.

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    Creating Life As We Don’t Know It

    Scientists are changing the rules for how DNA works.

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    Imagine the Early You as a Sperm, Swimming Your Way To Fame

      When you think of fame, you probably picture Hollywood A-listers, big-time political players, or triumphant athletes, the people who routinely see photos of themselves when they glance at magazine and newspapers. But we are each of us an exemplar of the biology of fame. Consider some recent scientific findings regarding the substantial genetic uniqueness […]

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    Genes That Won the Fame Game

    Discover genes that unite life on earth.

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    Organized Chaos Makes the Beauty of a Butterfly

    Take a look at a butterfly’s wing, and you can learn a lesson about life. Not that it’s beautiful, or fragile, or too easily appreciated only when it’s fading—though all that is true, and evident in a wing. Look very close, at the edge of a pattern, where one color turns to another. The demarcation […]

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    INVISIBLE NUMERALS

    Scientists aren’t exactly sure how many new mutations crop up each generation in humans—for years, the standard estimate was round 100-200, but one 2011 study, 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 […]

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    Following One Reader’s Nose

    The variability in how people smell has a lot to do with their genetics.

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    My Family’s Decade in Genetic Limbo

    Personal DNA testing may yet deliver on its promise.

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    The Genome in Turmoil

    Hope your week went well. It might have changed your genetics.

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    A Huge Outdoor Orgy Is Beginning; Humans Not Invited

    When the cicadas of Brood II burst into open air—and into song—later this month, after living 17 years in darkness below ground, they will have one thing on their collective, eerily synchronized mind: sex. Though millions of humans inhabiting the mid-Atlantic states will soon hear the insects’ incredible racket, they’re probably unaware that what they’re […]

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    Huge Outdoor Orgy GRAF SPACING + FONT WEIGHT WRONG

    When the cicadas of Brood II burst into open air—and into song—later this month, after living 17 years in darkness below ground, they will have one thing on their collective, eerily synchronized mind: sex. Though millions of humans inhabiting the mid-Atlantic states will soon hear the insects’ incredible racket, they’re probably unaware that what they’re […]

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    Huge Outdoor Orgy GRAF SPACING WRONG

    When the cicadas of Brood II burst into open air—and into song—later this month, after living 17 years in darkness below ground, they will have one thing on their collective, eerily synchronized mind: sex. Though millions of humans inhabiting the mid-Atlantic states will soon hear the insects’ incredible racket, they’re probably unaware that what they’re […]

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    Handy Genetic Switch Helps You Grow Hands—or Paws, or Fins

    When an enormous four-finned fish surfaced in a South African fisherman’s catch in 1938, scientists were fascinated by its resemblance to fossilized creatures that had died out millions of years ago. The fish, called a coelacanth, turned out to be the first descendant of those organisms ever spotted by humans. The two living species identified […]

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    Dr. Frankenstein Needs His Own Hippocratic Oath

    In the next war, instead of a soldier going on a reconnaissance mission into enemy territory, consider this possibility: a cloud of “micro air vehicles,” flying cyborgs, with built-in cameras and microphones, that could be guided by remote control. What military commander wouldn’t want that? DARPA, the research wing of the Department of Defense, has […]

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    Your Very Weird, Very Personal Sense of Smell

    We’re used to the idea that some among us are colorblind, perceiving the world differently because of a quirk in their genetics. And it’s well-known that teenagers and young adults can hear high-pitched sounds that their elders cannot, an ability that’s been exploited by manufacturers of The Mosquito, an anti-loitering device that annoys youth into leaving. […]