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  • Growth Curve

    Why breast-feeding really can be easier the second time around

    After my second daughter was born, I was prepared to wait three or four days for my breast milk to come in, as I had with my first. But just as everyone had warned, things were completely different the second time around. Just half a day later, my body was already churning out the good stuff.

    “She’s already got a milk mustache!” one of the nurses told me as she weighed my newborn. That...

    06/03/2015 - 08:30 Health, Physiology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Extinct species may get a second chance

    05/31/2015 - 10:00 Genetics, Animals, Ecosystems
  • Science Ticker

    Mice grow a thinner skin during long stays in space

    Long trips in space may thin the skin. Three months spent aboard the International Space Station made mice’s skin waste away and made the animals' hair grow, a new study shows. Scientists had hints that skin might be sensitive to weightlessness (...

    05/28/2015 - 09:56 Health, Physiology
  • Science Ticker

    White House hits pause on editing human germline cells

    The United States will hold off, for now, on clinical experiments that could alter the human germ line. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a statement on May 26...

    05/26/2015 - 16:05 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Science Stats

    Genes and environment balance each other

    Combatants in the age-old battle of nature versus nurture may finally be able to lay down their arms. On average, both nature and nurture contribute roughly equally to determining human traits.

    Researchers compiled data from half a century’s worth of studies on more than 14 million pairs of twins. The researchers measured heritability — the amount of variation in a characteristic that...

    05/26/2015 - 12:40 Genetics, Human Development
  • Science Stats

    A billion years of evolution doesn’t change some genes

    Humans and baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, last shared an ancestor 1 billion years ago. Despite the evolutionary gulf, human genes can substitute for nearly half — 47 percent — of the genes essential for yeast survival, researchers report in the May 22 Science.

    Aashiq Kachroo and colleagues at...

    05/22/2015 - 15:58 Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Mutations that drive cancer lurk in healthy skin

    By late middle age, about a quarter of skin cells carry cancer-driving mutations caused by exposure to sunlight — and it’s perfectly normal.

    Researchers had previously thought that the types of mutations that fuel tumor growth were rare and happened just before a cell becomes cancerous. But a study of the eyelids of four people who don’t have cancer reveals that such mutations “are...

    05/21/2015 - 14:11 Genetics, Cancer
  • News

    Ancient DNA pushes back timing of the origin of dogs

    Some friendships go way back. New genetic evidence suggests that the relationship between humans and dogs may have been forged as long as 40,000 years ago.

    DNA analysis of an ancient wolf calibrates the split between dogs and wolves to 27,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers had previously calculated that the divergence happened about 11,000 to 16,000 years ago....

    05/21/2015 - 12:03 Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Octopuses can ‘see’ with their skin

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    Octopus skin can detect light and respond to it — no eyes or brain required.

    Tests of fresh skin samples from California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) show this ability clearly for the first time in any cephalopod, says Todd Oakley of the University of California, Santa Barbara. White or blue light prompts the pale skin’s...

    05/20/2015 - 18:00 Animals, Physiology
  • It's Alive

    Vampire squid take mommy breaks

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    Vampire squid live slow. Even their gonads, it turns out, take vacations.

    Any information about their reproduction is prized, because no one has seen the deep-sea dwellers even swim close enough to each other to flirt. Studies of fished-up specimens offer clues. But they can’t solve puzzles such as how sperm gets into female storage pouches, one...

    05/19/2015 - 07:00 Animals, Physiology