genetics

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Big Breakthrough Could Mean Pig Organs in Humans

Scientists who've created genetically modified piglets say perhaps in 2 years

(Newser) - Pig organs have long been eyed as transplant options for humans, as the organs are about the same size and pigs are plentiful, but it's been challenging to overcome the human immune system's possible rejection of such organs. Now, in what one medical expert tells the New York ... More »

Scientists Just Achieved 'Holy Grail' of Plant Breeding

Japanese team engineers the first blue chrysanthemum

(Newser) - A development of "great impact" has been made in the world of flowers—specifically among chrysanthemums, which researchers have just turned a true-blue hue for the first time, per Science . The magazine explains that vibrant blue flowers are hard to find in nature—only a few species exist, and... More »

Woolly Mammoths Could Be 'De-Extinct' in 2 Years

According to a 'maverick geneticist'

(Newser) - This whole nostalgia thing is getting out of control because scientists are about to bring back the woolly mammoth, the Guardian reports. Harvard professor George Church—who New Scientist calls a "maverick geneticist"—is leading a "de-extinction" team that says it's about two years away from... More »

We're One Step Closer to Test Predicting Baldness

Researchers indentify 287 genes linked to hair loss

(Newser) - Guys, if you've ever wished you could look into a crystal ball and see if hair plugs are in your future, scientists have good news. Using data from 53,000 men in the UK, they've come up with a DNA-based algorithm that could someday predict whether one is... More »

When We Have Kids, How Many May Be Partly Genetic

DNA variants can also predict probability of a woman remaining childless

(Newser) - For the first time, scientists have identified areas of DNA—specifically, 12—associated with reproductive habits, in this case the age when men and women have their first kid and how many kids they have. Reporting in the journal Nature Genetics , researchers at the University of Oxford analyzed more than... More »

Keeping Tomatoes in Fridge May Mar Flavor Forever

Flavor alteration takes place in the genes, making it irreversible

(Newser) - It may seem practical to keep fruits and veggies from spoiling by storing them in the fridge, but there's one variety that should stay out on the counter. The New York Times reports on new research out of the University of Florida that finds when tomatoes are harbored in... More »

3-Parent Baby Born After 2-Decade Ban

With mom's nuclear DNA, donor's mitochondrial DNA, and dad's sperm

(Newser) - A 5-month-old born using a "revolutionary" genetic technique is said to be the world's first baby created using DNA from three parents since the technique was banned about two decades ago, New Scientist reports. The boy, IDed by the International Business Times as Abrahim Hassan, was born in... More »

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 »

Russians Secretly Domesticated Foxes in Just 50 Years

No one thought it could be done with this most-untamable creature

(Newser) - For more than 50 years, scientists have been gathering foxes from the Russian wilderness and breeding them, picking the most human-friendly to mate to domesticate the supposedly untamable animals, much as dogs once were, Phys.org reports. And it looks like the project the BBC says was started by Dmitry... 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 »

Ancient Virus Could Determine the Sex of Your Baby

'Why ... is a fascinating question'

(Newser) - The sex of baby mice—and quite likely baby humans—is determined by a virus that inserted itself into the mammalian genome 1.5 million years ago, Live Science reports. Yale researchers published their surprising findings on March 30 in Nature . According to a press release , more than 40% of... 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 »

Scientists Grow Chickens With Dinosaur Legs

'With one small modification, millions of years of evolution can be undone'

(Newser) - Scientists—presumably so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think whether they should—have grown chickens with dinosaur legs, Phys.org reports. More accurately, a team at the University of Chile grew chicken embryos with dinosaur-like fibulas. In modern birds, the fibula is shorter... More »

Dad Learns He's Autistic When Daughter Is Diagnosed

Chris Offer had been with his wife 7 years before diagnosis

(Newser) - In the early days of their relationship, Jessica Offer says she and her now husband Chris Offer would argue over his discomfort in looking people directly in the eye. Then there was the sensitivity to social overload. And after moving in together, the absurd neatness of their kitchen pantry. But... More »

Your Size Predicts How Much You Earn

Short men, overweight women are at a disadvantage: study

(Newser) - Bad news for short men and overweight women: You have "reduced chances in life" when it comes to income, education, and job prospects, the Washington Post reports via a new study in the British Medical Journal . University of Exeter researchers analyzed how genetic variants related to height and BMI... More »

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 »

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