It’s a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilization, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm.
Embedded in our genetic code is all kinds of sensitive data that could be compromising in the wrong hands. Without genetic privacy protections, the information stored in our genes might be used to discriminate against us or send us targeted ads. For these reasons, some have said we should skip out on consumer DNA…
For years, a debate has raged among scientists as to which ancient creature represents the first true animal, sponges or jellies. Using a new genetic technique, a collaborative team of researchers has concluded that ctenophores—also known as comb jellies—were the first animals to appear on Earth. It’s an important…
At times, DNA testing can feel more like horoscopes than science. In many cases, we just don’t know enough about a gene to say what it means for our health. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration has sought to protect consumers by preventing DNA testing companies from telling them whether or not they’re…
In a study that’s bound to attract considerable controversy, a pair of researchers are claiming that between 60 and 66 percent of all cancer-causing mutations are the result of random DNA copying errors, making them essentially unavoidable. The new research is offering important insights into how cancer emerges, and…
In 2008, researchers built the first artificial genome, a wonder of synthetic biology in which scientists generated all 582,970 base pairs of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium’s genome entirely from scratch. It was an unparalleled scientific achievement, requiring scientists to carefully design 101 unique DNA…
Ten years ago, if you wanted to back up some old photos, you might have stored them on a big, clunky external hard drive that weighed a couple of pounds and was a pain to lug around. Ten years from now, you might back up all the data from your entire life on just a few grams of DNA.
The secrets of the animal kingdom just might be hidden within piles of animal crap.
Recently, Vitaliy Husar received results from a DNA screening that changed his life. It wasn’t a gene that suggested a high likelihood of cancer or a shocking revelation about his family tree. It was his diet. It was all wrong.
As individuals, our DNA offers insight into things like our personalities, our health and where we come from. But taken together, all those individual portraits can add up to paint a detailed history of humankind.
Diagnosing disease often requires analyzing and detecting single cells with lab tests that cost hundreds of dollars each. Hospitals in a poor country stricken with a disease epidemic like HIV or malaria simply might not have the funds to run all of those tests. Scientists are looking for a cheaper option.
It was not so long ago that sequencing even tiny snippets of DNA was a costly, cumbersome process that required access to a state-the-art lab. Today, we are inching close to putting a DNA sequencer in every pocket.
If you wanted to, say, turn a red pepper yellow, you have a few options. You could directly tinker with with the plant’s genetic code, tweaking the genes that control its color. Or, perhaps, you could just mist the plant with a spray that changes its gene expression without altering its genetics.
Another year has passed, which means we’re another step closer to the tomorrow of our dreams. Here are the most futuristic developments of 2016.
Researchers have discovered that Atlantic killifish are now 8,000 times more resilient to high levels of toxic waste than other fish, allowing them to survive extreme levels of pollution that would normally be deadly. It sounds like an evolutionary success story, but examples like this are exceptionally rare in the…
The origin of the AIDS pandemic has been reconstructed in unprecedented detail, showing the disease jumped from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970. The new study subsequently clears the name of Gaétan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant long-thought to be “Patient Zero.”
Most foodies warn against storing tomatoes in the fridge, saying it saps them of their flavor. New research confirms this culinary opinion, revealing the way cold temperatures prevent critical flavor-enhancing genes from doing their job.
By combining archaeological, paleontological, and genetic evidence, an international team of researchers has identified a previously unknown hybrid species that contains both bison and cattle DNA. The discovery solves a longstanding mystery about the origins of modern European bison.
A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human.