genetic mutation

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Truth About Mummified 'Alien' Skeleton Revealed

'Ata' was human girl with severe genetic mutations

(Newser) - You can definitely see why the tiny mummified skeleton—found inside a leather pouch behind an abandoned church in Chile's Atacama Desert in 2003—had many claiming an alien had been discovered. The 6-inch skeleton—nearly 2 inches shorter than the shortest baby ever born—had a cone-shaped head,... More »

Her Disease Is Incredibly Rare. So Is Her Dad's Effort to Cure It

A look at the research into NGLY1 deficiency

(Newser) - Grace Wilsey is Chelsea Clinton's goddaughter. But that's not the only very rare facet of the 8-year-old's life. Four years ago she became one of the first children to be diagnosed with NGLY1 deficiency, a single genetic mutation that causes a host of problems, from muscle weakness... More »

We've Just Entered the World of Mutant Ants

Scientists for the first time alter their behavior by manipulating genes

(Newser) - Scientists have successfully altered a major behavior of two species of lab ants by deleting a single gene. As the Washington Post reports, the journal Cell has just published two papers chronicling the journeys of the first so-called mutant ants. One team reports on how one mutation removed a key... More »

Parents Desperately Trying to Raise $750K for Sick Son

Only a few children in the US have Niemann-Pick Type A, and all die young

(Newser) - Just weeks ago, a Boston couple learned their now-13-month-old son has an extremely rare and currently untreatable genetic disease called Niemann-Pick Type A, more colloquially known as "Baby Alzheimer's." In short, the boy suffers from a lethal mutation of a gene that prevents his body from processing... More »

Why This 2-Faced Calf Has the Perfect Name

Lucky walks in circles a lot, but she's the first two-headed calf to live past 40 days

(Newser) - For 40 days and nights, Noah's ark was said to have housed all variety of creatures—but probably not one like this, who just became the first of its kind to live past a similar 40-day mark, per National Geographic . Lucky the two-faced calf, who lives on a Campbellsville,... More »

Genes Help Predict When We Lose Our Virginity

Scientists exploring a possible link between onset of puberty and sexual activity

(Newser) - Sure, people become sexually active under countless circumstances for countless reasons and at many different ages, but at least part of the timing appears to come down to our genes, Cambridge University researchers report in the journal Nature . Studying the genes and life histories of nearly 400,000 people, they... More »

Vegetarian Ancestors Affect Your Cancer Risk

Those with gene mutation could overload on fatty acids

(Newser) - You've probably never given thought to what your ancestors stuffed down their gullets. Now might be the time. In a new study in Molecular Biology and Evolution, Cornell University researchers explain that people who come from a line of mostly plant eaters likely carry a gene mutation used to... More »

Family Loses 3rd Child to Inherited Disease

10-year-old girl dies from brain cancer

(Newser) - A Florida family has lost a child to cancer triggered by a rare genetic mutation, all the more tragic because it's the third time in six years this has happened to the Madings. Ten-year-old Isabella died this month at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh of brain cancer that was... More »

Scientists Find Source of Rare 'Vibration Allergy'

Gene mutation leads body to release inflammatory chemicals: study

(Newser) - There's no such thing as good vibrations for those suffering from "the vibration allergy." Yes, that's a real thing. The rare inherited condition, known formally as vibratory urticarial, causes an allergic reaction in patients during the most mundane exercises—think mowing the lawn, jogging, riding the... More »

Mystery Disease Strikes Just One Family on the Planet

Joselin, Hilary Linder determined to wipe out strange genetic ailment

(Newser) - In the late 1980s, William Linder, a healthy 40-year-old doctor, came home from a vacation fatigued and with swollen legs. By 1996, he was dead, with the cause officially listed as "unknown." The years in between were full of gruesome symptoms: Swelling squeezed some of his veins so... More »

Down Syndrome 'Reversed' in Mice

Researchers were able to affect the growth of the cerebellum

(Newser) - We'll start by tempering expectations: The breakthrough you're about to read about has "no direct link" to a human treatment, reports AFP , but it's noteworthy nonetheless. Scientists say they've identified a molecule that "reverses" the effects of Down syndrome in mice. The molecule is... More »

Doctors: West Nile Virus May Have Dangerously Mutated

But CDC says it hasn't seen evidence of that

(Newser) - The West Nile virus appears to be ramping up attacks on the brain, say two doctors who have been treating sufferers of the virus for years, prompting fears the virus has mutated into a more threatening form. Mississippi doctor Art Leis tells the Washington Post that for the first time,... More »

Internet Addiction Might Be Genetic

Same mutation associated with nicotine addiction

(Newser) - Internet addiction may be in our genes—just like nicotine addiction. In a study of 843 people, researchers found that 132 suffered "problematic" online behavior: "All their thoughts revolve around the Internet during the day, and they feel their well-being is severely impacted if they have to go... More »

Autism Linked to Dad's Age: Study

Finding might explain increase in cases

(Newser) - The older a man is when he conceives a child, the more likely that child is to develop autism or schizophrenia, a study released today concluded. The finding lends credence to the theory that the recent surge in autism diagnoses is caused in part by the trend toward having children... More »

Fukushima Fallout: Scads of Mutant Butterflies

Radiation link clear, scientists say, and it's only the beginning

(Newser) - The radiation that poured out of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor last year looks like it's doing a number on Japan's animal populations, researchers warn, after discovering rampant mutations among butterflies. Scientists collected 144 adult pale grass blue butterflies—which would have been overwintering as larvae during the... More »

We're All Mutant X-Men

We're all chock-full of mutations, scientists find

(Newser) - Wolverine’s not so different from you and me: Scientists have found that each person has as many as 60 mutations in our genomes—portions of our DNA that aren’t matched in either of our parents. Mutations happen in both eggs and sperm cells, and neither cell’s mutations... More »

Tiny Ecuadorean Villagers Free of Cancer, Diabetes

Genetic mutation may shed light on longevity

(Newser) - After studying a group of villagers in Ecuador for nearly a quarter-century, researchers think it's safe to say it: These people don't get cancer or diabetes. The villagers are dwarfs—more specifically, they have Laron syndrome—and their particular genetic mutation helps keep them free of those two common diseases... More »

Scientists Zero In on Genetic Clues to Anorexia

Markers linked to autism show up in eating-disorder patients

(Newser) - Researchers have found a set of genetic alterations linked to the development of anorexia, LiveScience reports. The eating disorder had previously been thought to be highly heritable, but specific genetic markers hadn't been identified. If more are found, people at risk for the disorder could be identified early. More »

Genome Breakthrough Zeroes In on Disease

New approach decodes entire genomes of individual patients

(Newser) - Two teams of researchers have identified the exact genetic cause of their patients' rare diseases by sequencing their entire genomes, a sharp but promising departure of the previous application of genetics to disease. “I suspect that in the next few years human genetics will finally begin to systematically deliver... More »

Researchers Find Cancer 'Fingerprints'

Rearranged chromosomes can be used to ID tumors, personalize treatment

(Newser) - Scientists have developed a new, more accurate method of tracking specific cancers using genetic “fingerprints”— the unique way every cancer rearranges chromosomes. Those rearrangements can be pinpointed with new genetic sequencing methods, allowing doctors to follow the cancer’s trail in the blood. The breakthrough is a key... More »

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