Tag: Genetics and Heredity

How White Nationalists See What They Want to See in DNA Tests

On the hate site Stormfront, one of the largest online discussion forums dedicated to “white pride,” sharing DNA results with fellow members has become a rite of passage for some members. But what happens when users’ results show that they fail to meet their own genetic criteria for whiteness? Are they still willing to post […]

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DNA Begins to Unlock Secrets of the Ancient Philistines

For thousands of years, the story of the Philistines has been told through the lens of their enemies, such as the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and the writers of the Hebrew Bible — who described David’s defeat of Goliath, the mighty Philistine warrior. While little of the Philistines’ stories about themselves endure, ancient DNA from […]

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Genealogy Sites Have Helped Identify Suspects. Now They’ve Helped Convict One.

EVERETT, Wash. — It has been used to identify more than 40 murder and rape suspects in cases as much as a half-century old. It has led to guilty pleas and confessions, including in one case where another man was convicted of the crime. Genetic genealogy — in which DNA samples are used to find […]

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Drugged, Castrated, Eager to Mate: the Lives of Fungi-Infected Cicadas

Beneath the soil, cicadas wait — as long as 17 years — until the right temperature beckons them to the surface. At once, they emerge, like zombies rising from graves. They greet the sun, preparing to molt into adults in coming weeks and then fly off to mate. Such is a cicada’s simple life — […]

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Meet the Narluga, Hybrid Son of a Narwhal Mom and a Beluga Whale Dad

On a remote island in Disko Bay, Greenland, a scientist in 1990 was collecting specimens of narwhals, the whales with unicorn-like tusks. He noticed an unusual skull on a hunter’s roof. The teeth were bizarre: The top ones pointed forward. A couple spiraled out. They looked like a mix of narwhal and beluga, but with […]

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For Cephalopod Week, Dive Into the World of Octopuses, Squids and More

Octopuses, squids and their cephalopod cousins have haunted the human imagination for centuries. Their long, unfurling arms and temperamental behavior have inspired legends, from the Kraken of Norse mythology to the giant Japanese Akkorokamui that supposedly lurks at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to swallow ships and whales whole. Cephalopods sit apart from other […]

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Cuttlefish Arms Are Not So Different From Yours

The cuttlefish and its relatives, squid and octopuses, often strike human observers as floating aliens wreathed in sucker-covered limbs — boneless, squirming appendages that would seem to have nothing in common with our own arms and legs. But hidden under the superficial differences, a new study shows, are some profound similarities: Human and cuttlefish limbs […]

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Grow Faster, Grow Stronger: Speed-Breeding Crops to Feed the Future

Farmers and plant breeders are in a race against time. The world population is growing rapidly, requiring ever more food, but the amount of cultivable land is limited. Warmer temperatures have extended growth seasons in some areas — and brought drought and pests to others. “We face a grand challenge in terms of feeding the […]

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Dr. Henry Lynch, 91, Dies; Found Hereditary Link in Cancer

A half-century ago, when researchers said cancers were caused by exposure to toxins in the environment, Dr. Henry T. Lynch begged to differ. Many cancers, he said, were hereditary. To prove his point he traveled to gatherings of families that he suspected had histories of hereditary cancer. He arranged to meet family members and asked: […]

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A French Wine With a 900-Year-Old Vintage

Savagnin blanc — not to be confused with the sauvignon blanc the sommelier recommended with your cheese course — is a fruity, acidic grape from the vine-encrusted hills of Jura, near France’s border with Switzerland. And if you visit and sip the region’s white wines today, you’ll be tasting the exact same grape, down to […]

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Want to See My Genes? Get a Warrant

Someone broke into a church in Centerville, Utah, last November and attacked the organist who was practicing there. In March, after a conventional investigation came up empty, a police detective turned to forensic consultants at Parabon NanoLabs. Using the publicly accessible website GEDmatch, the consultants found a likely distant genetic relative of the suspect, whose […]

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Diet for One? Scientists Stalk the Dream of Personalized Nutrition

A decade ago, spurred by the success of the Human Genome Project and the affordability of genetic sequencing, scientists began to explore the promise of “nutrigenomics.” Could personalized nutrition, informed by knowledge of an individual’s DNA, help prevent and even treat diet-related diseases? The results of early studies from Harvard, Stanford and elsewhere were compelling: […]

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A New Way to Solve a Murder, Part 2: The Future of Genetic Privacy

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device: Via Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher The police identified a suspect in a double murder after combing through DNA profiles on a website designed to connect family members. We look at what his trial will tell us about the future of genetic […]

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Who Were the Ancestors of Native Americans? A Lost People in Siberia, Scientists Say

A skeleton in Siberia nearly 10,000 years old has yielded DNA that reveals a striking kinship to living Native Americans, scientists reported on Wednesday. The finding, published in the journal Nature, provides an important new clue to the migrations that first brought people to the Americas. “In terms of peopling of the Americas, we have […]

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A New Way to Solve a Murder, Part 1: The Genetic Detectives

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device: Via Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher A year after police used a genetic database to help identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case, the same technique has been used to arrest dozens of people. Now, for the first time, one […]

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Their Children Were Conceived With Donated Sperm. It Was the Wrong Sperm.

Seventeen years ago, when she was in her thirties, Cindy and her female partner decided they wanted to have children. The couple spent hours pouring over sperm donor profiles, finally settling on an anonymous man with a clean medical record and few health issues in his family. He was an anonymous donor, and they knew […]

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White Panda Is Spotted in China for the First Time

HONG KONG — An all-white, albino panda has appeared in a natural reserve in China, the first of its kind to be documented, an expert said this week. The panda was photographed in April with an infrared camera at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the local authorities said in […]

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