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Genetic Engineers Are Building a Biological Kill Switch

The fear of genetically-modified creatures escaping from the lab is the basis for a thousand sci-fi stories, but it’s also a legitimate concern. That’s why genetic engineers are inventing kill switches, or genetically-encoded suicide triggers, for GMOs they want to keep contained. Here’s how they work.
» 5/22/15 2:20pm 5/22/15 2:20pm

What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

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? » 5/07/15 6:25pm 5/07/15 6:25pm

To Treat Cancer, Doctors Will Grow Miniature Organs from Your Tumors

Organoids are exactly what they sound like: simplified miniature organs. And now geneticists are growing them out of living cancer cells, creating tiny, living cancer tumors for study. It sounds terrifying, but it’s actually one possible way we’ll get personalized medicine to treat many kinds of cancer. » 5/07/15 3:30pm 5/07/15 3:30pm

23andMe Wants to Make Drugs—Here's What That Could Mean in 10 Years

23andMe made a name for itself selling DNA test kits, but today it announced a radical new direction: The company will start mining its huge database of DNA sequences to create new drugs. The science of how they could do that is fascinating—but it raises a lot of futuristic ethical questions too. » 3/12/15 8:25pm 3/12/15 8:25pm

Of Course 23andMe's Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

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. » 1/06/15 3:35pm 1/06/15 3:35pm

Why We Need to Think Differently About Our Genomes

If—like most of us—your entire understanding of DNA and genetics can be traced back to CSI reruns, you’re probably under the impression that your genome is unique; that it defines you completely. But scientists increasingly believe that’s not that case. In fact, we need to start thinking about our genomes differently. » 9/20/13 9:40am 9/20/13 9:40am