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  • 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
  • News

    DNA from seized elephant ivory unmasks 3 big trafficking cartels in Africa

    Pairs of elephant tusks that are separated during smuggling are illuminating the tracks of wildlife crime.

    Identifying matching elephant DNA in different shipments of tusks can help scientific sleuths connect the shipments to the same ivory trafficking cartel, a new study finds. That technique has already revealed the presence of three major interconnected cartels that are active in...

    09/19/2018 - 14:00 Conservation, Animals, Genetics
  • Rethink

    A recount of human genes ups the number to at least 46,831

    Figuring out how many genes are in the human genetic instruction manual, or genome, isn’t as easy as scientists once thought. The very definition of a gene has changed since the completion of the Human Genome Project more than 15 years ago.

    Genes used to be defined as stretches of DNA that contain instructions that are copied into RNA and then turned into proteins. Researchers still don’...

    09/17/2018 - 07:00 Genetics
  • News in Brief

    German skeletons hint that medieval warrior groups recruited from afar

    Power systems transcended kinship in medieval Europe. A burial site in southern Germany contains members of a powerful warrior family who journeyed widely to find recruits to join the household and support a post-Roman kingdom, a new study suggests.

    Thirteen individuals interred at Niederstotzingen belonged to the Alemanni, a confederation of Germanic tribes that were conquered by and...

    09/05/2018 - 14:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    CRISPR gene editing relieves muscular dystrophy symptoms in dogs

    Gene editing can reverse muscular dystrophy in dogs.

    Using CRISPR/Cas9 in beagle puppies, scientists have fixed a genetic mutation that causes muscle weakness and degeneration, researchers report online August 30 in Science.

    Corrections to the gene responsible for muscular dystrophy have been made before in mice and human muscle cells in dishes, but never in a larger mammal. The...

    08/30/2018 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Meet the first known child of a Neandertal and a Denisovan

    Talk about blended families. A 13-year-old girl who died about 50,000 years ago was the child of a Neandertal and a Denisovan.

    Researchers already knew that the two extinct human cousins interbred (SN Online 3/14/16). But the girl, known as Denisova 11 from a bone fragment previously found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave, is the only first-generation hybrid ever found.

    Genetic analyses...

    08/22/2018 - 13:00 Ancestry, Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Americans support genetically engineering animals for people’s health

    Scientists have the power to genetically engineer many types of animals. Most Americans think it’s OK to alter or insert genes in animals and insects — provided it’s done in the interest of human health, according to a poll released August 16 from the Pew Research Center. The findings are similar to those from an earlier Pew survey, which found that a majority of Americans are fine with...

    08/20/2018 - 15:00 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    A resurrected gene may protect elephants from cancer

    Elephants rarely succumb to cancer. That’s surprising given how large the animals grow and how long they can live, which should provide more opportunities for cells to morph into cancer cells. A newly described gene that was brought back from the dead may take part in protecting the animals from the disease.

    A deep dive into elephants’ evolutionary history revealed a defunct gene called...

    08/14/2018 - 14:23 Health, Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Tiny bits of RNA can trigger pain and itchiness

    Some snippets of RNA can be a real pain.

    A microRNA called miR-30c-5p contributes to nerve pain in rats and people, a new study finds. A different microRNA, miR-711, interacts with a well-known itch-inducing protein to cause itching, a second study concludes. Together, the research highlights the important role that the small pieces of genetic material can play in nerve cell function,...

    08/13/2018 - 14:06 Cells, Physiology, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • News

    The first gene-silencing drug wins FDA approval

    A Nobel Prize–winning discovery — that small double-stranded RNA molecules can silence genes by interrupting the translation of DNA’s instructions into proteins — is finally delivering on its medical promise.

    The first drug that takes advantage of this natural biological process, called RNA interference, was approved August 10 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It targets a rare...

    08/10/2018 - 15:52 Biomedicine, Clinical Trials, Health, Genetics