genetics

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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 »

Moms' Stress in Ice Storm Shows Up in Kids' DNA

Effects seen in aftermath of huge storm in Canada in 1998

(Newser) - Just how bad was an epic 1998 ice storm in Canada? You can read all about it in the DNA of kids who were born around that time. An intriguing study in PLoS One finds that women who were especially stressed during the storm gave birth to kids whose immune... More »

Scientists Are Decoding the Genetics of Height

They've now identified nearly 700 genetic variants related to height

(Newser) - Scientists are knee-deep in a freakishly large study (part of the aptly named GIANT Consortium) to better understand the genetics at play in human height. They tell Reuters that height can tell us a lot about various aspects of human health—including diseases like "obesity, diabetes, asthma that are... More »

Kids Could Look Like Mom's Ex, Not Like Dad

At least in the fruit fly population, telegony study claims

(Newser) - Guys may unknowingly be leaving their mark on the world: Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia have taken on what was widely considered to be the discredited theory of telegony—the idea that a woman's children might resemble not just her current sexual partner, but... 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 »

Dating Site Brings in DNA Matchmaking

'There is a science behind attraction,' SingldOut says

(Newser) - Spitting in a test tube could be the first step toward finding true love, according to a new online dating business that says it is the first to offer DNA-based matchmaking. SingldOut.com analyzes the saliva samples members send in for genes that influence how people respond to emotions and... More »

Here's Why Nobody Is Exactly 'Mexican'

Population is too genetically diverse to define, say researchers

(Newser) - A new study has found that the population of Mexico is so genetically diverse that the term “Mexican” doesn’t really apply to anyone. Think about the differences between a European and an East Asian—that’s about how different a Mexican from the north is from a Yucatan... 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 »

Peppers Might Get Spicier Thanks to Scientists

Researchers discover gene for capsaicin

(Newser) - Don't say science never did anything for you, spicy food lovers. Last week researchers published the full genome for the hot pepper (Capsicum annuum), a discovery that, according to LiveScience , could have a very practical application: even hotter peppers. The findings will "help breeders accelerate the research of... More »

Crack Team of Scientists' Goal: 'Make 100 the New 60'

Craig Venter, other experts to form Human Longevity Inc.

(Newser) - A crack team of scientists is coming together with an ambitious goal: Battle aging. Craig Venter, the geneticist who created synthetic life , is pairing up with stem cell leader Dr. Robert Hariri and Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation ; their Human Longevity Inc. has set its initial... 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 »

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 »

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 »

New Patent Opens Can of Worms on 'Designer Babies'

Geneticists worry 23andMe trying to 'breed better people'

(Newser) - A pretty controversial new patent its taking the idea of a designer baby to a whole new level. A trait selection process from 23andMe , based on parent and donor DNA, could, in theory, be used to boost the chances of a particular sex, as well as hair or eye color,... More »

Genetically, Dolphins Are Like ... Bats?

They have nearly 200 genomic regions in common

(Newser) - One is an adorable marine mammal. The other is a creepy flying rodent that inspires masked vigilantes. But it turns out that, deep down, dolphins and bats have a surprising amount in common. A new study has found that dolphin and bat genes are strikingly similar in nearly 200 genomic... More »

'Senior Moments' Don't Mean Alzheimer's

Study suggests gene link to normal memory loss

(Newser) - Finding yourself a little more forgetful these days? Don't panic—it comes with normal aging, and doesn't necessarily point to Alzheimer's. Scientists investigated the difference between the two processes in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory. While Alzheimer's is known to be... More »

Autism Has 'Eerie' Connection to Cancer Gene

Researchers see hope for autism treatment

(Newser) - "It's eerie," says a scientist of a newly discovered link between autism and cancer. What researchers found: A gene known as PTEN can cause a number of different cancers, including breast, thyroid, and colon; and it turns out that some 10% of kids with mutations in the... More »

Culprit in Irish Potato Famine Finally Discovered

Potato blight strain HERB-1 now apparently extinct

(Newser) - Nearly two centuries later, researchers believe they have identified the pathogen that led to Ireland's deadly potato famine. To make their discovery, British, German, and American scientists sequenced DNA from samples of dried potato leaves collected between 120 and 170 years ago, reports PhysOrg. They identified the particular strain... More »

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