genetics

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Morning Person or Night Owl? Your Genes May Decide

Biology may be influencing if you stay up all night or wake up with the sun

(Newser) - You may be naturally disposed toward being a morning person or a night owl—and scientists are now saying that may have a true biological basis that's hard to fight, the Guardian reports. Per a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications , researchers under the direction of 23andMe lead scientist... More »

UK Gives Controversial OK for Editing Human Genes

It could help fight inherited diseases—but critics say there's an ethical 'slippery slope'

(Newser) - Britain's fertility regulator has approved a scientist's request to edit the human genetic code in an effort to fight inherited diseases—but critics fear the new technique crosses too many ethical boundaries, reports the AP . The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority announced Monday it has granted a research... More »

New Study Is 'Crucial Turning Point' in Battle Against Schizophrenia

Scientists may have found the genetic cause for the disease

(Newser) - Scientists published Wednesday what the New York Times is calling a "landmark study" in the fight against schizophrenia. “This paper gives us a foothold, something we can work on, and that’s what we’ve been looking for now, for a long, long time,” one genetics professor... More »

Sex With Neanderthals May Explain Modern Allergies

But it probably also helped our ancestors stay alive

(Newser) - You may have to pump yourself full of Zyrtec just to step outside during allergy season because your ancestors couldn't keep their hands off those sexy Neanderthals, suggests two new studies in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Neanderthals and a second now-extinct hominid—Denisovans—were living in Europe... More »

New Study Reveals How Tuxedo Cats Get Their Tuxedos

Scientists were way off

(Newser) - Researchers now know why and how tuxedo cats wear a tuxedo—and it's not for formal galas (cats hate those). The Guardian reports scientists had already figured out that piebald animals get their distinctive white patches because of a mutated gene. But they were way off in their theory... More »

Irish Bones May Settle 'Archaeological Controversy'

What researchers learned from 4 sets of remains

(Newser) - It's a "long-standing archaeological controversy": whether the Irish shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers because of adaptation or migration. A new DNA analysis of remains from several people, dating back thousands of years, may settle the question—as well as provide a better sense of where the Irish came... More »

Scientists: We May Be Able to Alter Human Intelligence

There are 2 gene networks perhaps controlled by master 'switches': researchers

(Newser) - Researchers from London's Imperial College think they've found two networks of genes, possibly controlled by a master system, that control cognitive functions—a find that may allow them to modify human intelligence down the line, the Guardian reports. In a study published in Nature Neuroscience , scientists say these... More »

Study May Reveal Why Some People Live So Long

It's in the genes

(Newser) - Science may be closer to figuring out why some people live so darn long. Researchers studying 1,800 people over the age of 100 and another 5,400 over the age of 90 discovered four genes linked to their longevity, Live Science reports. "There's a reasonably strong genetic... 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 »

Dad Learns That Unborn Twin 'Fathered' His Son

Parents were concerned when son had a different blood type

(Newser) - Sorry sir, you're not the father of your newborn child—your unborn brother is. So a 34-year-old man was told in the only known case of a paternity test being tricked by a so-called "human chimera," the Independent reports. It began when a US couple learned that... More »

Study: DNA Test Can Predict Whether You're Gay

Potential for misuse troubles lead scientist, who's just left the lab

(Newser) - UCLA scientists think they've developed the first test that can accurately predict whether a man is gay based on his DNA, and all it takes is a swab of saliva, reports New Scientist . The researchers examined 400,000 epigenetic tags—"chemicals that latch onto DNA and help turn... More »

Holocaust Survivors' Trauma Lives On in Kids' Genes

Study may explain why offspring are more at risk for stress disorders

(Newser) - Holocaust survivors pass on trauma through their genes, making their children and possibly even grandchildren more susceptible to PTSD and other stress disorders, according to new research . The Guardian reports researchers looked at 32 Jewish men and women who survived traumatic experiences at the hands of Nazis during World War... More »

Tongue-Rolling Myth Totally 'Debunked'

Biologist John McDonald aims to set the record straight

(Newser) - For anyone who can still proudly recall one factoid learned in high school biology—that the ability to roll one's tongue is genetic—bad news: You learned it wrong. John McDonald, an evolutionary biologist, is out to debunk what he calls a myth about the genetic roots of tongue-rolling,... More »

Causes of Cerebral Palsy Not What We Thought

Canadian study looks at the DNA of stricken children

(Newser) - Parents of children with cerebral palsy, take note: Your child's illness may be in the genes. A surprising new study in Nature is linking cerebral palsy to genetic variants and challenging the notion that environmental factors are solely responsible, the Globe & Mail reports. "Nobody really wanted us... More »

Study: 'Poorly Understood' Hemp Is Not Marijuana

But it took more than 12 years to find the gene that distinguishes them

(Newser) - Note to legislators: Hemp is not weed. So say scientists at the University of Minnesota who, reporting last week in the journal New Phytologist , have discovered a single gene that distinguishes the hemp plant from its psychoactive cannabinoid cousin marijuana. They say it took 12 years to single out the... More »

Does Creativity Up Your Risk of Mental Illness?

Iceland researchers say there's a genetic link, other scientists say it's flimsy

(Newser) - The "mad genius" is back in fashion with a new claim that there's a genetic link between creativity and genius, the Guardian reports. A study published in Nature Neuroscience analyzed 86,000 Icelanders to flesh out genetic variations that double one's risk of schizophrenia and more than... More »

What Your Sleepwalking Means for Your Kids

Sleep terrors appear to increase the chance of sleepwalking, too

(Newser) - Kids whose parents sleepwalked are more likely to do it themselves—and sleep terrors may be a precursor to sleepwalking as well, according to a new study out of Montreal published this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics . Not that sleepwalking, also called somnambulism, is necessarily a big deal. "... More »

Science Just Got Closer to Elephant-Mammoth Hybrid

But so far, it's just cells in a petri dish

(Newser) - For the first time since the woolly mammoth went extinct, its genes are working again, Popular Science reports. Sure, it's only in a lab; woolly mammoths haven't wandered the planet for about 4,000 years. But the effort at Harvard has brought the return of the animal a... More »

Scientists: Let's Halt Gene-Editing in Humans

Ethical, safety concerns surround Crispr-Cas9 technique

(Newser) - A breakthrough gene-editing process developed in 2012 could potentially be used to eradicate genetic diseases in humans—or make a person more intelligent or attractive. The Crispr-Cas9 or "DNA scissors" technique involves making DNA-altering changes to sperm, eggs, or embryos that could then be inherited by future generations. For... More »

Driving Vast Majority of Autism: Genes

Environmental factors likely still play some role

(Newser) - In somewhere between 74% and 98% of autism spectrum disorder cases, genes are to blame. So say researchers out of King's College London in the journal JAMA Psychiatry after studying both identical and fraternal twins. In fact, hundreds of genes could contribute to the development of autism, although because... More »

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