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  • 50 Years Ago

    In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes

    LSD may damage chromosomes

    Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold...

    03/23/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Neuroscience
  • News

    How to grow toxin-free corn

    Corn genetically engineered to make ninjalike molecules can launch an attack on invading fungi, stopping the production of carcinogenic toxins.

    These specialized RNA molecules lie in wait until they detect Aspergillus, a mold that can turn grains and beans into health hazards. Then the molecules pounce, stopping the mold from producing a key protein responsible for making aflatoxins,...

    03/10/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    Scientists move closer to building synthetic yeast from scratch

    Synthetic yeast is on the rise.

    Scientists have constructed five more yeast chromosomes from scratch. The new work, reported online March 9 in Science, brings researchers closer to completely lab-built yeast. 

    “We’re doing it primarily to learn a little more about how cells are wired,” says geneticist Jef Boeke of the New York University Langone Medical Center. But scientists might...

    03/09/2017 - 14:00 Genetics
  • News

    Bacteria genes offer new strategy for sterilizing mosquitoes

    A pair of bacterial genes may enable genetic engineering strategies for curbing populations of virus-transmitting mosquitoes.

    Bacteria that make the insects effectively sterile have been used to reduce mosquito populations. Now, two research teams have identified genes in those bacteria that may be responsible for the sterility, the groups report online February 27 in Nature and Nature...

    02/27/2017 - 11:00 Immune Science, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Human genes often best Neandertal ones in brain, testes

    Humans and Neandertals are still in an evolutionary contest, a new study suggests.

    Geneticist Joshua Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues examined gene activity of more than 700 genes in which at least one person carried a human and a Neandertal version of the gene. Human versions of some genes are more active than Neandertal versions, especially in the brain...

    02/23/2017 - 12:00 Genetics
  • News

    Power may have passed via women in ancient Chaco Canyon society

    A maternal dynasty ruled one of the earliest and most mysterious civilizations in the Americas, centered in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, for more than three centuries, researchers say.

    DNA extracted from the bones of individuals buried inside a massive Chaco stone pueblo or great house, along with new radiocarbon dates for interred bones, indicate that royal status ran through a particular...

    02/21/2017 - 17:15 Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    Microbes survived inside giant cave crystals for up to 50,000 years

    BOSTON — Microbes found stowed inside giant crystals in caves in Chihuahua, Mexico, may have survived there for tens of thousands of years. The microorganisms, which appear to be vastly different from nearly all life-forms found on Earth, offer a good indication of how resilient life can be in extremely harsh environments, including those found on other planets.

    “These organisms are so...

    02/18/2017 - 12:55 Microbes, Genetics, Astrobiology
  • News

    Human gene editing therapies are OK in certain cases, panel advises

    Human gene editing to prevent genetic diseases from being passed to future generations may be permissible under certain conditions, a panel of experts says.

    Altering DNA in germline cells — embryos, eggs, and sperm, or cells that give rise to them — may be used to cure genetic diseases for future generations, provided it is done only to correct disease or disability, not to enhance...

    02/14/2017 - 16:38 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Number of species depends how you count them

    Genetic methods for counting new species may be a little too good at their jobs, a new study suggests.

    Computer programs that rely on genetic data alone split populations of organisms into five to 13 times as many species as actually exist, researchers report online January 30 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These overestimates may muddy researchers’ views of how...

    02/08/2017 - 15:00 Genetics, Evolution
  • News

    DNA points to millennia of stability in East Asian hunter-fisher population

    In a remote corner of eastern Russia, where long winters bring temperatures that rarely flicker above freezing, the genetic legacy of ancient hunter-gatherers endures.

    DNA from the 7,700-year-old remains of two women is surprisingly similar to that of people living in that area today, researchers report February 1 in Science Advances. That finding suggests that at least some people in...

    02/03/2017 - 15:44 Anthropology, Genetics, Agriculture