Tag: Genetics and Heredity

This Genetic Mutation Makes People Feel Full — All the Time

The study subjects had been thin all their lives, and not because they had unusual metabolisms. They just did not care much about food. They never ate enormous amounts, never obsessed on the next meal. Now, a group of researchers in Britain may have found the reason. The people carry a genetic alteration that mutes […]

Read More

Stanford Clears Professor of Helping With Gene-Edited Babies Experiment

Stanford University has cleared Stephen Quake, a bioengineering professor, of any wrongdoing in his interactions with a Chinese researcher who roiled the scientific world by creating the first gene-edited babies. “In evaluating evidence and witness statements, we found that Quake observed proper scientific protocol,” said a letter from the university to Dr. Quake, obtained by […]

Read More

Don’t Count on 23andMe to Detect Most Breast Cancer Risks, Study Warns

In 2010, Dr. Pamela Munster mailed her saliva to 23andMe, a relatively new DNA testing company, and later opted in for a BRCA test. As an oncologist, she knew a mutation of this gene would put her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. She was relieved by the negative result. Two years later, […]

Read More

Trilobites: You Need Vitamin D to Live. How Could This Woman Survive With None in Her Blood?

In 1992, a 33-year-old Lebanese woman had just immigrated to Canada and went to see a doctor. She was hunched over, and had limited mobility in her lower back, neck, shoulders and hips. Her doctor, Raymond Lewkonia at the University of Calgary, diagnosed her with ankylosing spondylitis, a medical condition that causes vertebrae in her […]

Read More

Gene-Edited Babies: What a Chinese Scientist Told an American Mentor

PALO ALTO, Calif. — “Success!” read the subject line of the email. The text, in imperfect English, began: “Good News! The women is pregnant, the genome editing success!” The sender was He Jiankui, an ambitious, young Chinese scientist. The recipient was his former academic adviser, Stephen Quake, a star Stanford bioengineer and inventor. “Wow, that’s […]

Read More

This Editorial Is Not About Designer Babies

Leigh syndrome is a terrible disease. In the worst cases, it emerges shortly after birth and claims one major organ after another. Movement becomes difficult, and then impossible. A tracheotomy and feeding tube are often necessary by toddlerhood, and as the disease progresses, lungs frequently have to be suctioned manually. Most children with the condition […]

Read More

Matter: Scott Kelly Spent a Year in Orbit. His Body Is Not Quite the Same.

For 340 days, Scott Kelly circled the Earth aboard the International Space Station, gathering data about himself. He drew blood from his arms. He saved his urine. He played computer games to test his memory and reaction speed. He measured the shape of his eyes. Two hundred and forty miles below, Mr. Scott’s twin brother, […]

Read More

Making Babies in the Year 2045

The year is 2045. The genomes of four billion humans have been sequenced, creating a huge pool of genetic information accessible to researchers. This process had been well underway in 2019, but accelerated rapidly once many countries realized that understanding human biology was the ultimate big data problem and a key to reducing health care […]

Read More

Fossils Are Filling Out the Human Family Tree

Homo sapiens is a pretty impressive species. We built the pyramids, landed on the moon and connected the internet. All of our successes are the fortunate result of a tremendous evolutionary journey from ape to the hominins who would become modern humans. Along the way, other human relatives emerged and disappeared. Most lived before we […]

Read More

Introducing the World’s First Gene-Edited Lizard

Scientists have been altering the genes of mice, pigs, goats, chickens and butterflies for quite some time. But even as Crispr, a transformative gene-editing tool, made seemingly impossible genetic alterations possible, reptiles had remained untouched. That changed with the birth of a nearly transparent Anolis lizard, the first gene-edited reptile, according to the draft of […]

Read More

At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why.

She’d been told that childbirth was going to be painful. But as the hours wore on, nothing bothered her — even without an epidural. “I could feel that my body was changing, but it didn’t hurt me,” recalled the woman, Jo Cameron, who is now 71. She likened it to “a tickle.” Later, she would […]

Read More

Trilobites: DNA Clues to an Ancient Canary Islands Voyage

Today the Canary Islands are a tourist hub, a volcanic archipelago with palm trees and azure beaches, located off the coast of Morocco and governed by Spain. But the history of this paradise is marred by the brutal conquest, enslavement and treatment of its indigenous people by European colonizers beginning around the 15th century. Although […]

Read More

Matter: A History of the Iberian Peninsula, as Told by Its Skeletons

For thousands of years, the Iberian Peninsula — home now to Spain and Portugal — has served as a crossroads. Phoenicians from the Near East built trading ports there 3,000 years ago, and Romans conquered the region around 200 B.C. Muslim armies sailed from North Africa and took control of Iberia in the 8th century […]

Read More

Trilobites: Congratulations, It’s Twins. The Doctor Is Perplexed.

It only required a glance at the ultrasound for the doctor to know that he was looking at identical twins. The positioning of two amniotic sacs attached to one placenta was the giveaway. It would be a couple of months before he could tell the mother whether to expect two boys or two girls. What […]

Read More

An H.I.V. Cure: Answers to 4 Key Questions

At a scientific conference in Seattle on Tuesday, researchers reckoned with a day that many thought might never arrive. A patient appears to have been cured of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, for only the second time since the epidemic began. A sort of electric hope hangs in the air, said Dr. Steve Deeks, […]

Read More

Matter: One Twin Committed the Crime — but Which One? A New DNA Test Can Finger the Culprit

One night in November 1999, a 26-year-old woman was raped in a parking lot in Grand Rapids, Mich. Police officers managed to get the perpetrator’s DNA from a semen sample, but it matched no one in their databases. Detectives found no fingerprints at the scene and located no witnesses. The woman, who had been attacked […]

Read More

Trilobites: How the Icefish Got Its Transparent Blood and See-Through Skull

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica was once warmer. Then about 30 million years ago, the temperature dropped. Few fish could survive temperatures that were just above seawater’s freezing point, and they either migrated to warmer waters or went extinct. One bottom-dweller held on. Through the power of natural selection, its descendants developed traits that let […]

Read More

Split-Sex Animals Are Unusual, Yes, but Not as Rare as You’d Think

All serious butterfly collectors remember their first gynandromorph: a butterfly with a color and pattern that are distinctly male on one wing and female on the other. Seeing one sparks wonder and curiosity. For the biologist Nipam H. Patel, the sighting offered a possible answer to a question he had been pondering for years: During […]

Read More

Matter: DNA Gets a New — and Bigger — Genetic Alphabet

Animation by Millie Georgiadis/Indiana University School of MedicineCredit In 1985, the chemist Steven A. Benner sat down with some colleagues and a notebook and sketched out a way to expand the alphabet of DNA. He has been trying to make those sketches real ever since. On Thursday, Dr. Benner and a team of scientists reported […]

Read More