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  • News

    Selfish genes hide for decades in plain sight of worm geneticists

    View the video

    A strain of wild Hawaiian worms has helped unmask long-studied genes as just plain selfish. The scammers beat the usual odds of inheritance and spread extra fast by making mother worms poison some of their offspring.

    Biologists have for decades discussed how two genes in the familiar lab nematode Caenorhabditis elegans might help embryos build their organs. Working...

    05/11/2017 - 15:13 Genetics, Evolution, Animals
  • News in Brief

    Breast cancer cells spread in an already-armed mob

    COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. — When breast cancer spreads, it moves in gangs of ready-to-rumble tumor cells, a small genetic study suggests. Most of the mutations that drive recurrent tumors when they pop up elsewhere in the body were present in the original tumor, geneticist Elaine Mardis reported May 9 at the Biology of Genomes meeting.

    For many types of cancer, it is the spread, or...

    05/10/2017 - 17:09 Cancer, Genetics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Fox experiment is replaying domestication in fast-forward

    How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)Lee Alan Dugatkinand Lyudmila TrutUniv. of Chicago, $26

    In 1959, Lyudmila Trut rode trains through Siberia to visit fox farms. She wasn’t looking for furs. She needed a farm to host an audacious experiment dreamed up by geneticist Dmitry Belyaev: to create a domestic animal as docile as a dog from aggressive, wily silver foxes.

    Evolutionary...

    04/29/2017 - 08:00 History of Science, Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Ancient DNA bucks tale of how the horse was tamed

    DNA from 2,000-year-old stallions is helping rewrite the story of horse domestication.

    Ancient domesticated horses had much more genetic diversity than their present-day descendants do, researchers report in the April 28 Science. In particular, these ancient horses had many more varieties of Y chromosomes and fewer harmful mutations than horses do now. Previous studies based on the...

    04/27/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Dog DNA study maps breeds across the world

    Mapping the relationships between different dog breeds is rough (get it?), but a team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health did just that using the DNA of 1,346 dogs from 161 breeds. Their analysis, which appears April 25 in Cell Reports, offers a lot to chew on.

    Here are five key findings from the work:

    Dogs were bred for specific jobs, and this shows in their genes.

    ...

    04/26/2017 - 11:30 Animals, Genetics
  • News

    Gene knockouts in people provide drug safety, effectiveness clues

    Some Pakistani people are real knockouts, a new DNA study finds. Knockouts in this sense doesn’t refer to boxing or a stunning appearance, but to natural mutations that inactivate, or “knock out” certain genes. The study suggests that human knockouts could prove valuable evidence for understanding how genes work and for developing drugs.

    Among 10,503 adults participating in a heart...

    04/12/2017 - 13:00 Genetics
  • News

    Genetic risk of getting second cancer tallied for pediatric survivors

    WASHINGTON — A second cancer later in life is common for childhood cancer survivors, and scientists now have a sense of the role genes play when this happens. A project that mined the genetic data of a group of survivors finds that 11.5 percent carry mutations that increase the risk of a subsequent cancer.

    “We’ve always known that among survivors, a certain population will experience...

    04/07/2017 - 13:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News

    Cephalopods may have traded evolution gains for extra smarts

    Octopus, squid and cuttlefish don’t always follow the rules laid out in their DNA. Straying from prescribed genetic instructions may have increased the cephalopods’ thinking prowess, but comes at a cost, a new study suggests.

    Once genes have been copied from DNA into RNA, these cephalopods heavily edit the genes’ protein-making directions, researchers report April 6 in Cell. The study...

    04/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics
  • News

    Gene editing of human embryos yields early results

    Scientists have long sought a strategy for curing genetic diseases, but — with just a few notable exceptions — have succeeded only in their dreams. Now, though, researchers in China and Texas have taken a step toward making the fantasies a reality for all inherited diseases.

    Using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9, the researchers have successfully edited disease-causing...

    03/29/2017 - 11:30 Genetics, Science & Society
  • 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