We typically think of evolution as a progression from simplicity to complexity. But one organism seems to have thrown the rulebook out the window: a microbial animal that offers a striking example of evolution run “backwards.” »
The birds you see above are all ruffs (Philomachus pugnax): wading birds that summer in marshes through Northern Europe and Asia. All three are wearing different forms of breeding plumage. And all of them are male. »
Genetic testing company 23andMe is back in the business of direct-to-consumer health testing kits, after a two-year semi-hiatus (in the U.S., at least) from offering health risk assessments at the behest of the Food and Drug Administration. That makes 23andMe the first such company to win FDA approval for taking its… »
Today, a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics tied male homosexuality to chemical markers on DNA that affect how genes are expressed. »
Yesterday the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Tomas Lindahl, Aziz Sancar, and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping out how cells repair damaged DNA. Their research improved our understanding of how our own cells work and helped in the development of cancer treatments, but… »
An international team of scientists has scanned the genomes of 2,504 people from around the world to create the world’s largest catalog of human genetic variation (HGV). The extensive database will help them understand why some people are susceptible to certain diseases. »
Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You, a new BBC series focused on how our prenatal development shapes our lives, has brought new attention to a group of seemingly sex-swapping people in the Dominican Republic. »
Humans, bacteria, daffodils: We’re a diverse bunch on the surface, but trace each and every Earthling back far enough, and you’ll arrive at a common ancestor. For the first time, scientists have built a comprehensive tree of life that binds us all together. »
I am talking to people looking for actual geneticist to do actual genetics work. This is very strange. Genetics, the study of inheritance, is rarely done anymore. This brings me to a problem of how I see heritability of traits portrayed in both popular media and biologists and clinicians who are not geneticists. »
A male seahorse gets pregnant when his mate deposits her as-yet-unfertilized eggs into a pouch on his belly. He fertilizes them, then carries the developing embryos until they’re ready to feed themselves. At which point he forcefully shoots them into the world.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of bdelloid rotifers, strange microscopic creatures that typically live in freshwater ponds and streams. In the grand scheme of things, they’re related to arthropods, a group which includes insects, spiders, and crustaceans. But honestly, they’re in a unique class all their own. And… »
Editas Medicine hopes to use CRISPR—a revolutionary new gene-editing technology—to treat conditions such as sickle-cell anemia, cancer, and cystic fibrosis. »
The emerging discipline of synthetic biology is poised to change many aspects of our lives, from the production of medicines and bio-fuels through to genetic engineering and the development of completely new biological systems. It’s a technologically daunting prospect, but this video from Grist uses Legos and… »
If your poop is much lighter colored than nearly everyone else’s, it could be a sign that you have an absolutely harmless medical condition. And your parents are to blame. »
Birds have a quality known as broodiness. It means that, after they lay their eggs, they stick around and take care of those eggs. Most commercial chickens don’t have that quality. And it looks like their complete disregard for their offspring results from one genetic mutation. »
Researchers working off the Shimokita Peninsula in Japan have discovered living microbes buried 8,000 feet below the seabed, a new record. And because they resemble those found in forest soils, these organisms likely survived for tens of millions of years after being buried under the seabed. »
A genetic analysis of ancient and modern humans suggests that the ancestors of Native Americans entered the North American continent from Siberia some 23,000 years ago—and that they did so in a single wave.
Like our brains, the human penis hasn’t evolved in tens of thousands of years — and that’s a real shame. Our favorite male body part is capable of so much more. In consideration of pending advances in science and technology, here’s what to expect with penis 2.0.