The critically endangered smalltooth sawfish was recently found to be capable of asexual reproduction. It’s an exciting discovery for many reasons, but breathless claims by the media that sawfish could save their species from extinction by resorting to virgin births are wrong, wrong, wrong. Let’s explore why. »
Biologists just discovered 11 new species of chameleon hiding in plain sight—as chameleons tend to do. »
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. »
A team of geneticists is ready to unlock the secrets behind Internet celebrity cat Lil Bub’s unique appearance.
The Y chromosome, a chunk of genetic code that is unique to male mammals, isn’t just physically smaller than the X. It also contains far fewer genes. The X has more than 1000 genes, while the Y has fewer than 200 —and most of them don’t even work. Why do men have this odd, stunted chromosome in their genomes? »
This is the Altamura Man. He’s old. In 1993, cave researchers stumbled across an odd formation in Italy: a skull that had essentially grown over time to become part of the cave, calcite budding from its features. Now, scientists have discovered that it could easily be 150,000 years old.
In the 1970s, two inhuman creatures—one hairy and tall, another with orange eyes—were spotted in New England. The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, blamed these monsters not on unreliable testimonies, but recombinant DNA technology, then a new and promising laboratory technique. »
A millenium ago, a group settled in Iceland and have stayed there ever since, with few people coming and going. And so their DNA has stayed remarkably homogenous. That's a major boon for genetics researchers, who today have released the results of sequencing the complete genomes of 2,636 Icelanders—the largest such… »
What's happening in Siberia's thawing permafrost and Greenland's melting glaciers sounds borderline supernatural. Ancient viruses, bacteria, plants, and even animals have been cryogenically frozen there for millennia—and now, they are waking up. »
There are 20,000 genes in the human genome, but only a small fraction of them are active in any given cell. This video from Nature explains with beautiful clarity the system that activity, turning genes on and off. It's called the epigenome, and it's incredibly important. Now you can understand how it works, too. »
That sensation you feel when you meet someone you like—that visceral pull towards another human being—there's biology behind that. And if there's biology behind that, it can be measured, and controlled for, and used to help determine if two people will be attracted to each other before they ever even meet in person. »
A recent survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics found that 80.44% of respondents supported a government policy mandating labels on foods containing DNA. Not GMOs. DNA, the genetic material contained in every living thing known to science and practically every food,… »
Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe's data to study Parkinson's. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it's been about selling your data all along. »
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… »
For the past 18 months, according to the Tech Review, Google has been quietly rolling out a cloud computing service for DNA. Google Genomics could one day have millions of genomes on its servers, available at a click of a button to researchers. Are there legitimate privacy concerns here? Definitely, but it's not… »