Niceness goes all the way down to the DNA level

There are two hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, that generally make us more sociable, more caring, and just generally nicer. But now scientists have taken this a step further by finding the specific genetic receptors that make these hormones so effective. » 4/10/12 4:46pm 4/10/12 4:46pm

Extra gene keeps mice cancer-free and permanently skinny

The gene PTEN is a tumor suppressor, making it one of the best genes to have in the fight against cancer. But the latest research suggests that preventing cancer is just the beginning of all the amazing things this gene can do. » 3/06/12 5:23pm 3/06/12 5:23pm

The Y chromosome isn't going extinct after all

A few years back, we learned that the Y chromosome was essentially rotting, shedding hundreds of its genes over the last 300 million years. That isn't wrong, but it turns out reports of the Y chromosome's eventual extinction were premature. » 2/22/12 11:29am 2/22/12 11:29am

Fruit fly intestines could hold a vital clue to increasing human…

There seems to be one surefire way to increase longevity in animals. It's caloric restriction, which means placing them on a near-starvation diet. We don't know if that could work on humans... but fruit flies might be able to give us the answer. » 11/03/11 2:09pm 11/03/11 2:09pm

The human genome contains a million years worth of population data

Our genes don't just help determine who we are — they also preserve an incredibly ancient record of who our ancestors were. Our genomes can actually reveal human population sizes dating all the way back to before humans even existed. » 7/13/11 3:48pm 7/13/11 3:48pm

A single mutant gene is responsible for 30% of all mysterious pain

In the United States alone, 20 million people suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a condition that involves nerve degeneration and sometimes extreme pain, often without any explanation. Now we've found the culprit for this mysterious pain...and it's all one gene's fault. » 6/22/11 3:00pm 6/22/11 3:00pm

Tiny water flea has the biggest genome ever sequenced

The water flea species Daphnia pulex is barely more than a millimeter long, is completely translucent, has no clear divisions between their various body parts...and has the largest genome of any animal we've ever encountered. It has an incredible 31,000 genes in its genome, over 8,000 more than humans have. So what's… » 2/06/11 2:15pm 2/06/11 2:15pm

The drinking gene controls who you pick as friends

Your friends might seem like an essentially random bunch, based on shared interests and emotional compatibility. But there might be something genetic going on - and it's related to how much you drink. » 1/18/11 12:30pm 1/18/11 12:30pm

"Liberal gene" could turn social butterflies toward the political left

Is your political outlook in your genes? Researchers have identified a gene variant that could predispose adolescents to becoming liberal adults — but only if they have an active social life. » 10/27/10 5:00pm 10/27/10 5:00pm

Questor Revamp Will Be As Robotic As The Original, Says Roddenberry's…

Buffy and Angel veteran Tim Minear may be in talks to head a revival of Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes, but don't expect it to be a Whedonesque re-do, according to the man responsible for the property, Rod Roddenberry. » 1/31/10 8:00am 1/31/10 8:00am

Bad Driving Could be in Your Genes

Know someone who seems congenitally incapable of driving? A new study suggests that a genetic variant may, in fact, be responsible for poor driving skills — and it's a variant nearly one third of Americans possess. » 10/28/09 11:50am 10/28/09 11:50am

Have Science Fiction Books Become Too Self-Referential?

"Science Fiction has become an exclusively literary genre, with books inspired less by new scientific research than by previous science fiction books, and, regrettably, movies. Ideas turn into tropes, and instead of extrapolation, we get variation: of the generation star ship, the space alien, the artificial brain,… » 3/27/09 1:17pm 3/27/09 1:17pm

Volunteers Let Their Genomes All Hang Out

The idea of making personal genetic information public evokes images of genomic Google searches and gene-testing job interviews straight out of Gattaca » 10/20/08 2:00pm 10/20/08 2:00pm. But there are many who believe genetic openness could go a long way toward advancing disease research. Tomorrow, ten volunteers will take the first steps away from…

Do Scary Movies Leave You Spooked? Blame the Horror Film Gene

Ever wonder what drives some people to every splatter fest that reaches the theater, while others flee the room any time a zombie flashes on the television? Researchers at the University of Bonn have discovered that a gene may be responsible for your fear of monster movies. Click through for more on the study, and the… » 8/16/08 9:00am 8/16/08 9:00am