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  • Year in Review

    Crime solvers embraced genetic genealogy

    Every week, Ellen Greytak checks DNA profiles in a genealogy database. She’s not searching for long-lost relatives. She’s out to find family members of unknown assailants in rape and murder cases.

    Greytak is director of bioinformatics at Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Va. Since May, the company has used genetic genealogy, a forensic technique for tracking down suspects through their...

    12/17/2018 - 08:32 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    Drinking studies muddied the waters around the safety of alcohol use

    For people who enjoy an occasional cocktail, 2018 was a sobering year. Headlines delivered the news with stone-cold certainty: Alcohol — in any amount — is bad for your health. “The safest level of drinking is none,” a group of scientists concluded.

    That finding, along with another one reported this year, seemed to contradict the reassuring notion that an occasional drink might be...

    12/17/2018 - 08:24 Health, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    To assemble a Top 10 list, Science News starts in June

    When most people were thinking about summer vacation, we were contemplating the biggest science stories of 2018.

    Yep, it takes more than six months of effort to put together Science News’ annual issue on the Top 10 science stories of the year. 2018 was no different, though we were hit with some exciting twists that had us revisiting our decisions just a week or so before closing the...

    12/17/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    These are our favorite science books of 2018

    From tales about whales to enthralling scientific histories and the memoir of a frustrated astrophysicist, 2018 was a banner year for science books. Here are Science News’ picks for the titles that should be on any science lover’s bookshelf. Find detailed reviews of many of these books in the links below and in our Editor’s Pick: Favorite books of 2018.

    The Truth About AnimalsLucy...

    12/09/2018 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Global carbon dioxide emissions will hit a record high in 2018

    Global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to hit a record high in 2018, despite urgent calls from climate scientists and international groups such as the United Nations to cut back.

    Worldwide, fossil fuel use is projected to pump 2.7 percent more CO2 into the atmosphere in 2018 compared with 2017. Last year, such emissions contributed 9.9 gigatons of carbon. The data are presented in...

    12/06/2018 - 18:09 Climate, Sustainability, Science & Society
  • Editor's Note

    Seeking a panacea in the gut’s microbiome

    It almost feels like people think every known disorder could be cured by tweaking the gut microbiome: The list of possibilities includes obesity, liver disease, diabetes, autism, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety. The length of that list alone invites skepticism among those of us who cover science. But there’s enough evidence that gut microbes...
    12/05/2018 - 05:15 Science & Society, Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends his work but fails to quell controversy

    A Chinese researcher who helped create the world’s first gene-edited babies publicly disclosed details of the work for the first time to an international audience of scientists and ethicists, and revealed that another gene-edited baby is due next year.

    Lulu and Nana, twin girls whose DNA was edited with CRISPR/Cas9 to disable the CCR5 gene involved in HIV infections, may soon be joined...

    11/28/2018 - 15:54 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Chinese scientists raise ethical questions with first gene-edited babies

    A Chinese scientist’s surprise announcement on the eve of an international human gene-editing summit that he has already created the world’s first gene-edited babies has led to swift condemnation.

    Jiankui He is expected to discuss his work November 28 in Hong Kong at the second International Summit on Human Genome Editing. But in an interview with the Associated Press, and in a video...

    11/27/2018 - 17:51 Genetics, Science & Society
  • The Science Life

    How locust ecology inspired an opera

    Locust: The Opera finds a novel way to doom a soprano: species extinction.

    The libretto, written by entomologist Jeff Lockwood of the University of Wyoming in Laramie, features a scientist, a rancher and a dead insect. The scientist tenor agonizes over why the Rocky Mountain locust went extinct at the dawn of the 20th century. He comes up with hypotheses, three of which unravel to music...

    11/26/2018 - 10:00 Animals, Evolution, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    Why a chemistry teacher started a science board game company

    A physicist, a gamer and two editors walk into a bar. No, this isn’t the setup for some joke. After work one night, a few Science News staffers tried out a new board game, Subatomic. This deck-building game combines chemistry and particle physics for an enjoyable — and educational — time.

    Subatomic is simple to grasp: Players use quark and photon cards to build protons, neutrons and...

    11/25/2018 - 09:00 Particle Physics, Chemistry, Science & Society