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  • News

    Ancient DNA suggests people settled South America in at least 3 waves

    DNA from a 9,000-year-old baby tooth from Alaska, the oldest natural mummy in North America and remains of ancient Brazilians is helping researchers trace the steps of ancient people as they settled the Americas. Two new studies give a more detailed and complicated picture of the peopling of the Americas than ever before presented.

    People from North America moved into South America in at...

    11/09/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Ancestry
  • News in Brief

    To get a deeper tan, don’t sunbathe every day

    Sunbathing — if you must do it — should be limited to every other day, a new study suggests. You’ll get darker and prevent some skin damage.

    That’s because skin makes the protective pigment melanin only every 48 hours, researchers report October 25 in Molecular Cell. Daily sunbathing can disrupt the pigment’s production and leave skin vulnerable to damage from ultraviolet light.

    A...

    10/25/2018 - 11:07 Physiology, Genetics
  • News

    DNA differences are linked to having same-sex sexual partners

    SAN DIEGO — For some people, choosing a same-sex partner may be in their DNA.

    In a large study of more than 490,000 men and women in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden, researchers discovered four genetic variants that occur more often in people who indicated on questionnaires that they had had same-sex sexual partners. Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT...

    10/20/2018 - 10:32 Genetics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers wonder about a hydrogen wall, pig lung transplants and more

    Wonderwall

    An ultraviolet glow spotted by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft may signal a hydrogen wall that separates the solar system from the rest of the Milky Way galaxy, Lisa Grossman reported in “New Horizons may have seen a glow at the solar system’s edge” (SN: 9/15/18, p. 10).

    Online reader RayRay wondered if researchers could see similar walls at the edges of other solar...

    10/17/2018 - 07:15 Astronomy, Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News

    Genealogy databases could reveal the identity of most Americans

    Protecting the anonymity of publicly available genetic data, including DNA donated to research projects, may be impossible.

    About 60 percent of people of European descent who search genetic genealogy databases will find a match with a relative who is a third cousin or closer, a new study finds. The result suggests that with a database of about 3 million people, police or anyone else with...

    10/12/2018 - 16:12 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Gene editing can speed up plant domestication

    Gene editing can speed up plant domestication, taming wild vines, bushes and grasses and turning them into new crops.

    Editing just two genes in ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa) produced plants that yielded more and bigger fruit, researchers report October 1 in Nature Plants. Those edits mimic changes that occurred in tomato plants during domestication, bringing the sweet tomato...

    10/01/2018 - 11:00 Plants, Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Smuggling a CRISPR gene editor into staph bacteria can kill the pathogen

    Bits of DNA that make bacteria dangerous can be co-opted to bring the microbes down instead.

    Stretches of DNA called pathogenicity islands can jump between bacteria strains, introducing new toxin-producing genes that usually make a strain more harmful. Scientists have now modified pathogenicity islands by replacing the toxin-producing genes with genes that, in mice, disabled or killed...

    10/01/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Immune Science
  • Feature

    Ibrahim Cissé unlocks cells’ secrets using physics

    Ibrahim Cissé, 35Physics and biophysicsMIT

    Ibrahim Cissé expected to join his father’s law firm one day. “There were no scientists where I grew up in Niger,” says the MIT biophysicist. “I certainly didn’t know [science] was a profession one could do.”  

    But Cissé’s parents had a telling clue about their young son’s eventual career path: a door sign he made that read “Laboratoire de...

    09/26/2018 - 08:33 Genetics, Physics, Cells
  • Feature

    Jenny Tung wants to know how social stresses mess with genes

    Jenny Tung, 36Genetics and evolutionary anthropologyDuke University

    Jenny Tung is skeptical when she hears that her older sister, Wenny, compares Jenny’s science to their father’s golf.

    He played so much because he found it “a big, fat, hairy challenge,” Wenny said, proposing that Jenny, too, is drawn to challenges by their difficulty.

    Jenny Tung protests. Yet she doesn’t deny...

    09/26/2018 - 08:26 Animals, Genetics, Health
  • News

    In lab tests, this gene drive wiped out a population of mosquitoes

    A new gene drive may push a species of malaria-carrying mosquito to extinction.

    In a small-scale laboratory study, the genetic engineering tool caused Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes to stop producing offspring in eight to 12 generations, researchers report September 24 in Nature Biotechnology. If the finding holds up in larger studies, the gene drive could be the first capable of wiping...

    09/24/2018 - 11:20 Genetics, Ecology