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Smoking Damages Our DNA— in Some Cases Permanently

But the vast majority of genes 'recover' within 5 years of quitting

(Newser) - Scientists are learning more about how smoking impacts our health all the way down to our genes, and experts say they're not terribly surprised by new findings that some of the changes to a smoker's DNA appear to be permanent, lingering even decades after the smoker quits, reports... More »

In the Future, Your DNA May Not ID You— Your Hair Might

Scientists say analyzing hair proteins may be better for identification than DNA testing

(Newser) - DNA testing has been the forensic scientist's workhorse for identification purposes, but it comes with major issues, reports the Los Angeles Times , and scientists now say they've got a possible substitute: hair proteins. Per a study published in PLoS One , these proteins are like replicas of a person'... More »

Ice Bucket Challenge Funds 'ALS Breakthrough'

Gene tied to the disease has been identified

(Newser) - The $115 million raised from 2014's Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Association's research and services helped fund what's now being called an "ALS breakthrough," per the Guardian : the ID of a gene linked to the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which... More »

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 »

Woman to Make Clothes Out of Alexander McQueen 'Skin'

She says it's 'completely legal'

(Newser) - Alexander McQueen "was always pushing the boundaries" in fashion. That's why Tina Gorjanc thinks he'd love her new project, which aims to make clothing from McQueen's skin—or rather skin grown from McQueen's DNA. The recent fashion school graduate plans to use DNA from... More »

Guys, Smoking May Damage Your Sperm

When fathers are smokers, odds of fertilization go down and genetic abnormalities go up

(Newser) - Need another reason to keep your distance from cigarettes? For men, smoking appears to damage their sperm and potentially their offspring, too. Reporting in the journal BJU International , researchers say that men who smoke have a higher percentage of damage to sperm DNA; they had partially and sometimes totally inactive... More »

Murder Conviction Reversed Thanks to Skype

Court says defendant missed out on right to confront witness

(Newser) - Technology is great, except when you're trying to get someone convicted for murder and you have your DNA expert testify via Skype, which denies the defendant his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses in court, which in turn gets the defendant (who was convicted and sentenced to life in... More »

Today's Sperm Whales Descended From One 'Eve'

An ancient whale appears to be the mother of all modern sperm whales

(Newser) - While investigating samples of toxic levels of heavy metals found in sperm whales, researchers stumbled upon a surprising discovery: All of today's sperm whales appear to have descended from the same female, reports Hakai magazine. They've named her Eve and say she lived between 10,000 and 80,... More »

Source: DNA Shows Inmate Isn't Prince's Son

He claimed he was entitled to $300 million estate

(Newser) - DNA test results show a Colorado prison inmate is not Prince's son, a source who has seen a sealed document in the case tells the AP . The finding means that Carlin Q. Williams is not entitled to inherit a fortune worth up to $300 million. TMZ , citing unnamed sources... More »

We Read the Human Genome; Next Up, Writing It?

Project would enable creation of synthetic people

(Newser) - Scientists are contemplating a big follow-up to the Human Genome Project: Where that project essentially sought to read human DNA, this new endeavor would involve writing it. The idea, which is "spurring intrigue and concern in the life sciences community," as the New York Times reports, could enable... More »

Scientists Have Big Plans for da Vinci's DNA ... If They Can Find It

His remains are believed to be in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert

(Newser) - It's a project scientists say Leonardo da Vinci would have loved. Researchers plan to sequence the DNA of the Renaissance genius to discover more about his amazing abilities, and possibly even what he really looked like, the Independent reports. Da Vinci, however, wasn't trapped in amber Jurassic Park-style,... More »

Yale Grad Students Debunk 1951 Dinner-Party Legend

A hoax of mammoth proportions is revealed

(Newser) - The Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York—now going on its 112th year —has long treated its guests to exotic food items, including in more recent years deep-fried tarantulas, goat eyeball martinis, and the barbecued sex organs of bulls, reports the Atlantic . But the most famous meal of... More »

Family Sues After Boy Is Expelled Over His DNA

A trial could help establish exactly who can access one's genetic information

(Newser) - When Colman Chadam was born in 2000, he underwent extra medical tests after a congenital heart issue was discovered. Doctors learned that the infant carried genetic markers associated with cystic fibrosis, but he never went on to develop the disease. In fact, that test was the boy's only interaction... More »

US Panel: OK to Make 3-Parent Embryos —Male Ones

But there are still legal roadblocks to controversial process

(Newser) - A US National Academy of Medicine committee said Wednesday the FDA should approve clinical trials for three-parent fertilization in human embryos—with some caveats, Nature reports. In its report , the committee recommended such trials be limited to women at risk of passing along "serious mitochondrial disease" to their kids,... More »

Vietnam Hopes to Start Identifying Its 500,000 War Dead

'Decades later, it may be possible to put names to them'

(Newser) - Unlike the US, Vietnam has identified "just a few hundred" of its soldiers and citizens who died in the Vietnam War, Nature reports. Four decades later, bodies—or what's left of them—are still turning up, and the Vietnamese people are "desperate" for the remains of the... More »

Creatures Grow Heads, Brains of Other Species

Flatworms regenerate in shocking ways

(Newser) - Worms can grow the head and brain of another species? Then maybe we can do better at regenerating our own organs and tissues. That's the thrust of a new study by researchers who got flatworms to grow the heads of other flatworm species without any alteration to the worms'... More »

Pet Owners Fuming Over Doggie DNA Request

Florida condo association aims to curb pet poop

(Newser) - Some Florida condo owners are steaming after their homeowners association asked them to submit their dog's DNA in order to fine owners who don't pick up after their pets. Residents of Harbor Landing in Destin, Fla., said they received a letter last week and some feel it's... More »

Sacrificed Boy May Reveal Clues About Inca Empire

The child was sacrificed 500 years ago, and scientists were able to obtain his DNA

(Newser) - He came to a grim ending, but the mummified remains of a 7-year-old boy sacrificed in an Inca ritual called capacocha are allowing scientists to "learn more about the rise and extent of the Inca Empire," as the Los Angeles Times puts it. The child's frozen corpse... More »

This Artist's DNA Could Be Yours for the Right Price

'An extremely personal self portrait'

(Newser) - A 29-year-old Dutch artist is selling what he calls "an extremely personal self portrait." How extremely personal? Let's just say it's everything that makes him him—genetically speaking. Jeroen van Loon has made his entire DNA sequence available to the highest bidder as part of a... More »

DNA Evidence Is More Fallible Than People Think

Juries aren't being told the full story, expert warns

(Newser) - DNA testing has improved to the point where it is starting to incriminate the wrong people in some cases, experts warn. The problem is super-sensitive equipment and DNA transfer, which can lead to a person's DNA being found on a body or murder weapon even if they had only... More »

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