genetic research

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Why a Biotech Company Bought Sardinians' DNA

About one in every 2,000 people in Ogliastra lives to be 100

(Newser) - About one in every 2,000 people in Ogliastra, a province in eastern Sardinia, lives to be 100, the Financial Times reports. According to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News , that's five times the normal rate in the developed world and nearly 50 times greater than the rate in the... More »

Scientists Aim to Grow Human Organs in Farm Animals

But critics say 'chimera embryos' are an ethical mess

(Newser) - A handful of scientists may be blurring the line between human and animal as they work toward creating embryos that are a combination of both, NPR reports. Their goal is to grow human organs in farm animals for transplant into terminally ill patients—but the work is "ethically charged,... More »

Rare Disease Could Turn Boy Into 'Mannequin'

Jarvis Budd is one of 13 Australians to suffer from the rare disease

(Newser) - Three-year-old Jarvis Budd is one of just 13 people in Australia to suffer from a rare disease called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or "human mannequin disease." This means that with every minor fall or injury, he runs the risk of his joints seizing and triggering "abnormal bone growth,... More »

Easter Islanders Not as Isolated as Thought

Genetic data suggests travel to and from South America 20-plus generations ago

(Newser) - Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is such a remote speck of rock in the Pacific Ocean that it has been nicknamed "navel of the world." Yet a review of genetic data of 27 natives suggests the islanders made contact with outsiders hundreds of years before the first Europeans... More »

How Your DNA Affects Your Coffee Craving

8 genes found to be at work

(Newser) - Whether you drink a cup or a pot of coffee per day depends in part on your DNA, as scientists have previously shown. Now, however, a research team has gone further, naming eight specific genes—six of them newly identified—that play a role in your coffee intake, the AP... More »

Got a Hangover? Blame Your Genes

Researchers base finding on study of twins

(Newser) - When it comes to a bad reaction to alcohol, it seems not everyone is created equal. Genetics, researchers suggest, could be to blame for almost half the difference among people in whether we suffer the day after drinking. In a survey, study authors asked some 4,000 people on the... More »

Blood Test Might Reveal Suicide Risk

Gene key to our stress response: researchers

(Newser) - Scientists say they have a new way of determining suicide risk, and it's based on genetics—requiring only a blood test. Researchers running postmortem genome scans of brain samples found that the brains of those who'd committed suicide had less of a gene called SKA2, as well as... More »

Lab Creates Life With 'Alien' DNA

New letters added to DNA 'alphabet'

(Newser) - It's alive! Scientists say that they have created the first living organism with synthetic DNA unlike that of any life that has ever existed on Earth. Until now, all species used the same DNA code of four letters, but researchers added two new DNA bases labeled X and Y... More »

Gene Mutation Could Spawn Powerful Anti-Diabetes Drug

Rare mutation cuts risk by two-thirds

(Newser) - Genetic research has yielded what scientists believe could be an extremely powerful weapon in the fight against type 2 diabetes. A rare mutation has been found that slashes the risk of diabetes by around two-thirds, even in obese people, the New York Times reports. The mutation, which destroys a gene... More »

FDA May Allow Babies With 3 Parents

Observers cite concerns about 'designer babies'

(Newser) - An advisory panel to the FDA is investigating the merits of a technique dubbed "three-parent IVF," a method opponents worry could lead to so-called "designer babies," the Washington Post reports. The method in question aims to help mothers who carry risky DNA mutations—causing blindness or... More »

Parents May Pass Memories to Their Kids

Learned fears can continue through generations: mouse study

(Newser) - It may be possible to learn your parents' fears—without ever experiencing the relevant threat. Researchers taught mice to fear a cherry blossom smell, then looked at the creatures' sperm. A portion of DNA tied to the scent was particularly active, and two generations of descendants were found to be... More »

Scientists Find Gene to Wipe Memories

Find may offer path to fighting PTSD

(Newser) - Scientists at MIT are learning more about how old memories fade and new ones are created—suggesting we could someday have the power to wipe away traumatic experiences. The research is centered on a gene called Tet1, which scientists effectively turned off in a group of mice. Both the altered... More »

Elephant Man Mystery May Soon Be Solved

Bleached bones have posed a problem

(Newser) - For years, doctors have tried to conclusively determine which genetic mutations caused the lumpy skin, misshapen head, and other deformities that made Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man . Now researchers hope they'll finally be able to get a definitive answer. Though they could in theory extract DNA from Merrick's... More »

A Week of Bad Sleep Alters Your Genes

Study finds 'dramatic changes' taking place within days

(Newser) - Sleeplessness starts to bring about dramatic changes in the body within just a few days, disrupting hundreds of genes, hindering the body's ability to repair itself, and raising the risk of illnesses linked to immunity and stress, according to new research. Researchers analyzed the blood of subjects after they... More »

Wanted: 'Adventurous' Woman to Birth Neanderthal

Bringing Neanderthals back could save humanity, geneticist says

(Newser) - A Harvard professor has hatched a plan to bring back the Neanderthals—but he needs an "adventurous" female volunteer to deliver a knuckle-dragging bundle of joy. George Church, a geneticist who helped pioneer the Human Genome Project, says it is now possible to create artificial Neanderthal DNA from bone... More »

Genes Show Ancient Link Between Australia, India

Migrants from India brought dingoes, researchers say

(Newser) - The belief that Australia's Aborigines existed in isolation for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers has been upended by a new genetic study, the BBC reports. Researchers found that while there is a strong genetic link between Aboriginal Australians and the people of New... More »

Experts Target Lung Cancer With 'Tailor-Made' Drugs

Scientists look at DNA mutations in cancer tumors

(Newser) - Scientists are trying to help lung cancer sufferers by designing "personalized" drugs tailor-made to suit each DNA mutation of the disease, the New York Times reports. The first major study of squamous cell lung cancer—which kills more people annually than breast cancer or colon cancer—found that drugs... More »

We Could Soon Know Truth About Elephant Man

Genome sequencing could reveal his true ailment

(Newser) - It's been more than a century since Joseph Merrick—the so-called Elephant Man—died at age 27, but researchers still can't definitively explain the huge growths on his body. Though he was nicknamed after the parasitic infection Elephantiasis, other scientists believe he may have suffered from the congenital... More »

Breast Cancer: Not One but 10 Diseases

Genetic study offers 'completely new way of looking at breast cancer'

(Newser) - Breast cancer isn't a single disease but an umbrella term for 10 genetically distinct diseases, according to the biggest-ever study of the genetics of breast tumors. The researchers, who split the disease into 10 categories after examining samples from 2,000 tumors, say the study offers a "completely... More »

Sex With Neanderthals Boosted Our Immunity

Scientists make 'stunning' discovery in genome comparison

(Newser) - Three years ago, scientists thought humans had never had sex with Neanderthals. Last year, they changed their tune—and now it looks like DNA passed down from Neanderthals has had a “profound impact” on our immune systems. Scientists compared a section of the modern human genome to the same... More »

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