For quite some time, scientists had a working theory of why certain piebald (patchy black-and-white) mammals look the way they do. They assumed the coloring is a directed pattern that involves pigmented cells instigating a controlled expansion. Turns out, it’s all just random.
People love finding out that they have a famous relative, or they’re descended from royalty. Thanks to genetic testing services like 23AndMe, it’s easy to send your spit away and get a rundown of your potentially regal DNA. But being related to long-ago kings doesn’t make us special—it just makes us human.
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…
Remember those slightly horrifying sites that mash up two faces to tell you what your hypothetical babies might look like? With genome sequencing and "virtual embryos," we might actually be able to do that—using science.
Deep within our bodies are all kinds of genes that turn on and off over the years, including the very genes that make you grow a body in the first place. This is where scientists are looking for the magical code that could enable us to regrow organs and regenerate limbs. A Harvard researcher thinks he might've found…
Scientists have developed a new technique which allows them to visualize gene activity in thousands of cell, simultaneously. That will allow them to understand how our cells function like never before—and it looks damn pretty, too.
Step one in any project involving genetic modification is to get the genes you want into the cells you want changed. Traditionally, this meant shooting microscopic DNA-coated bullets at the cells and hoping the DNA got inside without blowing the cells to smithereens. It sounds messy, and it is. Now, researchers in…
One in every thousand or so babies born today will suffer from Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21 that results in learning disabilities, a heightened risk of bowel and blood diseases, and a severely heightened risk of dementia later in life. But a radical new…
While it's easy enough to brush off a few sleepless nights with a pot of coffee and the occasional desk-nap, you may be doing more harm than you realize. According to a new study from Surrey University, snagging less than six hours of sleep per night can actually shut down genes that play a key role in the body's…
The placebo effect seems to make little sense: get ill, take a dummy pill, and you'll recover in much the same way as someone taking real drugs. While there have been many theories bandied about over the years to explain how it works, new evidence suggests that it may be genetic.
Three postdoctoral students at Harvard Medical School—Bryan Wei, Mingjie Dai, and Peng Yin—have found a way to turn individual DNA strands into a fully-loaded font: all the letters of the Roman alphabet, punctuation marks, emoticons, and digits 0-9.
Unlike the contents of your inbox, bank statement, or Facebook timeline, your DNA quite literally defines you. It's strange, then, that in an age where sequencing the genome is becoming trivial, we don't give a second thought about the privacy issues surrounding the chemicals that make us who we are.
There are a small, but vehement, group of people that hate cilantro with a passion. But it turns out that they might not be fussy; instead, they might just be unlucky enough to be beneficiaries of a curious genetic mutation.
Scientists have created the first 3D model of DNA, thanks to a new software buit by a young Harvard scientist. Depicting the way DNA packs itself inside a cell, we couldn't help but see it as a beach ball of life.
The authors of a recent New York Times opinion piece want to rain on the parade of anyone who thought they might be able to succeed by working really hard. Luckily, their arguments aren't very convincing.
Men have always had evolution to blame for their wily Cassanova ways—that whole spreading their seed far and wide thing. Finally, evolution is coming through for women, too!
Scientists at Nanjing University made a startling discovery about the food we eat. Not only do we ingest the nutrients from our food, we incorporate some of the genetic material as well.
Where does one secure the very best bacon? The supermarket? Shut up, rookie! You secure it from the heroic pig that survived for more than a month buried beneath the rubble of China's horrific Sichuan earthquake.