Tag: Genetics and Heredity

Scientist Who Edited Babies’ Genes Is Likely to Face Charges in China

HONG KONG — A Chinese scientist who claimed to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies “seriously violated” state regulations, according to the results of an initial government investigation reported on Monday by Chinese state media. The investigators’ findings indicate that the scientist, He Jiankui, and his collaborators are likely to face criminal charges. […]

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Does Cannabis Use Cause Schizophrenia?

Nearly a century after the film “Reefer Madness” alarmed the nation, some policymakers and doctors are again becoming concerned about the dangers of marijuana, although the reefers are long gone. Experts now distinguish between the “new cannabis” — legal, highly potent, available in tabs, edibles and vapes — and the old version, a far milder […]

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5 Takeaways From the Ancient DNA Research Story

What can genes tell us about who we are? Millions of people around the word have begun using consumer ancestry services like 23andMe in an attempt to peer into their personal origins and understand where they came from. Meanwhile, though, in a handful of elite genetics labs around the world, scientists have begun analyzing ancient […]

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Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps?

PART I 1. The Ghosts of Teouma A faint aura of destiny seems to hover over Teouma Bay. It’s not so much the landscape, with its ravishing if boilerplate tropical splendor — banana and mango trees, coconut and pandanus palms, bougainvillea, the apprehensive trill of the gray-eared honeyeater — as it is the shape of […]

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Nonfiction: Dani Shapiro’s New Memoir Uncovers a Life-Changing Family Secret

INHERITANCE A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love By Dani Shapiro 249 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $24.95. “You may discover things about yourself and/or your family members that may be upsetting,” warns the boilerplate legal language at 23andme.com, the website of a company that analyzes samples from DNA testing kits. Spitting into one of those […]

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Lab Severs Ties With James Watson, Citing ‘Unsubstantiated and Reckless’ Remarks

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory revoked the honorary titles held by its longtime leader James D. Watson on Friday, describing as “unsubstantiated and reckless” his recent remarks about genetic differences in intelligence among racial groups. Dr. Watson, one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century, had apologized after making similar comments to a British […]

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Phys Ed: Mind May Trump DNA in Exercise and Eating Habits

Just in time to befuddle people who received genetic testing kits for the holidays, a new study finds that if you tell people that they have a genetic predisposition to certain health characteristics, such as a low capacity for exercise or a tendency to overeat, their bodies start to respond accordingly. Even if their DNA […]

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James Watson Won’t Stop Talking About Race

It has been more than a decade since James D. Watson, a founder of modern genetics, landed in a kind of professional exile by suggesting that black people are intrinsically less intelligent than whites. In 2007, Dr. Watson, who shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for describing the double-helix structure of DNA, told a British journalist […]

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Chinese Scientist Who Claimed to Make Genetically Edited Babies Is Kept Under Guard

SHENZHEN, China — The Chinese scientist who shocked the world by claiming that he had created the first genetically edited babies is sequestered in a small university guesthouse in the southern city of Shenzhen, where he remains under guard by a dozen unidentified men. The sighting of the scientist, He Jiankui, this week was the […]

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Phys Ed: Year in Fitness: How Exercise Keeps Us Young

Some of the biggest news in exercise science this year concerned the tiniest impacts from physical activity, which does not mean that the impacts were inconsequential. It means they were microscopic. We learned this year, for instance, that exercise changes how our cells communicate with one another, as well as how rapidly they age. This […]

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What We Learned in 2018: Science

It’s not easy to say that any particular scientific development was the most important in a given year. But if we had to choose some highlights, we’d opt for these unforgettable events and findings. A scientist’s use of the Crispr technique set off a global firestorm. ImageHe Jiankui speaking before the Second International Summit on […]

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Phys Ed: How Exercise May Make Us Healthier

People who exercise have different proteins moving through their bloodstreams than people who do not, according to an interesting new study of the inner landscapes of sedentary and active people. The proteins in question affect many different aspects of our bodies, from immune response and blood-sugar levels to wound healing, so the new findings may […]

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Matter: Narrower Skulls, Oblong Brains: How Neanderthal DNA Still Shapes Us

People who sign up for genetic testing from companies like 23andMe can find out how much of their DNA comes from Neanderthals. For those whose ancestry lies outside Africa, that number usually falls somewhere between 1 percent and 2 percent. Scientists are still a long way from understanding what inheriting a Neanderthal gene means to […]

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Mapping the Brain’s Genetic Landscape

For the past two decades, scientists have been exploring the genetics of schizophrenia, autism and other brain disorders, looking for a path toward causation. If the biological roots of such ailments could be identified, treatments might follow, or at least tests that could reveal a person’s risk level. In the 1990s, researchers focused on genes […]

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Phys Ed: Is Aerobic Exercise the Key to Successful Aging?

Aerobic activities like jogging and interval training can make our cells biologically younger, according to a noteworthy new experiment. Weight training may not have the same effect, the study found, raising interesting questions about how various types of exercise affect us at a microscopic level and whether the differences should perhaps influence how we choose […]

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MIND: Can We Really Inherit Trauma?

In mid-October, researchers in California published a study of Civil War prisoners that came to a remarkable conclusion. Male children of abused war prisoners were about 10 percent more likely to die than their peers were in any given year after middle age, the study reported. The findings, the authors concluded, supported an “epigenetic explanation.” […]

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Trilobites: Seeking Clues to Longevity in Lonesome George’s Genes

When Lonesome George, the only survivor of the Pinta Island tortoises of the Galápagos, died in 2012, the news landed with a blow. Rationally, people had time to prepare for the reality that George would one day fade away, and with him, an entire lineage. He had lived for a century or more, a common […]

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Trilobites: The Genes That Make Parrots Into the Humans of the Bird World

A macaw named Poncho starred in movies like “102 Dalmatians,” “Dr. Doolittle” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” before retiring in England. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Alex, an African grey parrot who lived to 31, knew colors, shapes and numbers, and communicated using basic expressions. He could do what toddlers only do after a […]

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On Medicine: It’s Time to Study Whether Eating Particular Diets Can Help Heal Us

A few weeks ago, I had a minor surgical procedure — the repair of a congenital abdominal hernia. The operation went well. I returned home with a stash of instructions and medicines. There were clear guidelines for which drugs to take for inflammation or pain, in what dose, and in what order and intervals. But […]

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