How a New DNA Test Can Distinguish Between Identical Twins 

Ever since police started using DNA tests, one particular loophole has captivated our imagination: How do you distinguish between identical twins who share DNA? But it turns out even identical twins have tiny differences in their DNA, and prosecutors in Massachusetts want to use a new test for identical twins in court… » 12/04/14 7:30pm 12/04/14 7:30pm

Inside the Forensic Lab That Fights Crime and Counterfeits With DNA

What you're looking at is me, being blasted by a fog machine. It's not a prop for a rave or a haunted house; it's vapor laced with custom DNA particles that could prove I was at the scene of a crime. And it's just one way a cutting-edge security firm is using life's building blocks to detect counterfeits and bust… » 9/26/14 1:26pm 9/26/14 1:26pm

The World's First Handheld DNA Amplifier Is a Genetics Lab In a Box

DNA sequencing is crucial for identifying and tracking nasty viruses like E. coli and the flu. But current tabletop-size DNA sequencing machines aren't readily portable. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand have a solution in a brick-sized DNA sequencer that connects wirelessly to a smartphone or… » 8/26/14 1:42pm 8/26/14 1:42pm

Soviet Doctors Cured Infections With Viruses, and Soon Yours Might Too

In the Soviet Union, western antibiotics couldn't make it past the Iron Curtain. So Eastern Bloc doctors figured out how to use viruses to kill infectious bacteria. Now, with antibiotic-resistant bugs vexing doctors, that eerie yet effective method might come our way. In post-antibiotic world, infection cures you! » 6/07/14 2:00pm 6/07/14 2:00pm

Mystery Illnesses Could Now Be Diagnosed With a Rapid DNA Test

When we think of medicine, we usually think of the treatment: drugs, surgery, therapy. But before all that comes the diagnosis—a tricky proposition when symptoms are confusing and information scant. Now for the first time ever, doctors were able to use rapid DNA sequencing to identify an obscure bacterium in time to… » 6/05/14 6:20pm 6/05/14 6:20pm

Scientists Have Created "Alien" DNA

After 15 years of work, scientists have successfully created a living cell that contains two unnatural DNA building blocks. The breakthrough brings us one step closer to being able to synthesize cells that can produce drugs on demand. It even opens the door to a future where we could create life that's unlike anything… » 5/07/14 6:20pm 5/07/14 6:20pm

The Fascinating History of Eugenics

The name deriving from the Greek "eugenes," meaning "well-born," it should be no surprise that "eugenics" seeks to engineer a better human race by purposefully selecting good traits, and eliminating bad ones, as is common when breeding animals. Over the years, eugenics has had a number of proponents, from some of the… » 2/13/14 6:45am 2/13/14 6:45am