Hundreds of millions of years ago, a tiny green microbe joined forces with a fungus, and together they conquered the world. It’s a tale of two cross-kingdom organisms, one providing food and the one other shelter, and it’s been our touchstone example of symbiosis for 150 years. Trouble is, that story is nowhere near…
Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.
An international team of scholars has just unveiled plans to science the shit out of Leonardo da Vinci, the man who gave us the Mona Lisa and envisioned futuristic technologies like helicopters and tanks 500 years ago. Goals of the fledgling “Leonardo Project” include recovering the famous Renaissance figure’s remains…
Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponized spit, expandable armor, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.
Water bears, known to scientists as tardigrades, are famously adorable microscopic creatures who can survive anything: freezing, total dehydration, radiation bombardment, and even the vacuum of deep space. Now scientists have sequenced a tardigrade genome, and are very surprised by the results.
Biotech visionary and entrepreneur Craig Venter, famous for inventing a technique to sequence his own genome back in the 1990s, has embarked on a new venture. For $25,000, his startup Human Longevity will give you every possible futuristic medical test, potentially revealing your risk for Alzheimer’s.
Scientists have finished sequencing the first complete octopus genome, and it’s a big step toward unraveling many cephalopod mysteries, including the basis of their unusual intelligence and unmatched camouflage abilities.
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.
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.
CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?
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.
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.
IBM wants its supercomputer Watson to help you get healthy—by analyzing your genes. A startup called Pathway Genomics is teaming up with IBM to create a fitness and diet tracking app that uses DNA sequencing and Watson's intelligence to give custom health recommendations.
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.
Researchers at a hospital in Kansas have been using this machine to crank out entire genome sequences of just-born babies in two days—which could be fast enough to change treatment regimes and save their wonderful little lives.
Today a group of medical researchers reported the discovery of something very intriguing in a type of pancreatic cancer called PanNET. Turns out PanNET is associated with mutations in two genes that help control a part of your DNA that determines whether you die.