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  • Science Ticker

    Woolly mammoth DNA shows toll of low diversity

    Even before woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) went extinct, signs of decline were written in their DNA, researchers report in the May 18 Current Biology.

    The team sequenced genomes from a 44,800-year-old specimen from Siberia and a 4,300-year old specimen from Wrangel Island...

    04/27/2015 - 13:39 Animals, Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Gene in human embryos altered by Chinese researchers

    Chinese researchers have genetically modified a gene in nonviable human embryos. The controversial work illustrates that many hurdles remain before gene editing to correct genetic diseases would be safe for clinical use, the team reports April 18 in Protein & Cell.

    The researchers used gene-editing...

    04/23/2015 - 15:29 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Genetic editing can delete deleterious mitochondria

    A new genetic engineering technique could help prevent mitochondrial diseases without the ethically sticky “three-parent problem” of another recently developed method.

    The three-parent method involves transferring the nucleus of a prospective mother’s egg into a donor egg containing healthy mitochondria in order to replace mutant mitochondria with healthy ones.  

    The new gene-...

    04/23/2015 - 12:01 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Depression leaves lasting mark on DNA

    Depression changes people down to their DNA, a new study suggests.

    People with depression have more mitochondrial DNA and shorter telomeres than nondepressed people do, an international team of researchers reports online April 23 in Current Biology.

    Mitochondria are organelles that produce...

    04/23/2015 - 12:00 Genetics, Mental Health
  • Science Ticker

    Mosquito bites might be foretold in genes

    Whether a mosquito finds you tasty might be coded in your genes.

    Plenty of factors could drive a mosquito's desire to bite: its prey's diet, body temperature, pregnancy or even body odor. Genes partially control a person’s unique odor, so researchers used data from 19 sets of female fraternal twins and 18 sets of identical twins to see whether chemicals in a person’s aroma might make...

    04/22/2015 - 14:20 Genetics, Animals, Health
  • Editor's Note

    Driving Curiosity to discovery

    Clara Ma, who in 2009 won an essay contest to name NASA’s new Mars rover, named it Curiosity. “Curiosity,” the young student wrote, “is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind....

    04/22/2015 - 09:00 Astrobiology, Climate, Genetics, Earth
  • News

    Bolder snails grow stronger shells

    Bold snails are built to be tough.

    A close look at bold snails’ shells reveals that they are rounder, thicker and more bite-resistant than shy snails’ shells. This finding, published online April 22 in Biology Letters, shows that within a species, bolder individuals can build bodies with...

    04/21/2015 - 19:05 Physiology, Animals, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Finland’s brown bears on surprise fast track to recover diversity

    Once near extinction, Finland’s brown bears are defying expectations in how quickly they are regaining the genetic underpinnings of a healthy population.

    In just a generation and a half, the nation’s southern bears have reached a level of genetic diversity and population mixing that theorists predict would typically take 10 generations or more,...

    04/21/2015 - 19:05 Animals, Genetics, Conservation
  • Say What?

    Whether froglets switch sexes distinguishes ‘sex races’

    Sex races
    \SEHKS REHY-sez\ pl. n.

    Groups of organisms within a single species that differ dramatically in how gonads develop.

    The best-studied examples are the three sex races of Rana temporaria frogs, a species found from Spain to Norway. In the milder southern climates, virtually all new froglets emerge from tadpolehood with ovaries. Only later do about half of...

    04/21/2015 - 08:00 Animals, Genetics, Development
  • News in Brief

    Bits of bacterial DNA naturally lurk inside sweet potatoes

    Sweet potatoes farmed worldwide picked up a bit of genetic engineering — without human help.

    Samples collected from 291 cultivated sweet potatoes carry at least one stretch of DNA from Agrobacterium, says plant molecular biologist Godelieve Gheysen of Ghent University in Belgium. The Agrobacterium genus includes the main bacterial species that makes intentionally...

    04/20/2015 - 15:00 Plants, Genetics, Science & Society