The Largest Genome Ever Sequenced Belongs To This Common Pine Tree

Scientists have finished unraveling the largest genome ever sequenced. The genome of the loblolly pine encompasses just under 23 billion base pairs — seven times more than the human genome. » 3/20/14 11:09am 3/20/14 11:09am

Yet another lesson that should be banished from biology textbooks

At some point, you probably learned about the idea of dominant and recessive genetic characteristics. A common example is tongue-rolling — those who can do it are said to have a dominant genetic trait. Except that's all wrong. And so are a lot of other things your teacher called dominant traits, too. » 8/26/13 3:53pm 8/26/13 3:53pm

Carnivorous plant doesn't have time for any of that junk DNA

In the human genome, only about 2% of our DNA are genes involved in coding the proteins essential to our existence. The other 98% is noncoding DNA, often called junk DNA because there's no clear purpose for it. That name might seem a bit pejorative, but a new study of the bladderwort genome suggests it's oddly… » 5/19/13 1:00pm 5/19/13 1:00pm

Some of your genes are more similar to gorillas than to chimps

Our closest evolutionary relatives are chimpanzees, and both of our species are much more related to each other than to gorillas, the next closest relative. But a new genome analysis reveals we share some unexpected traits with our massive gorilla cousins. » 3/07/12 11:42am 3/07/12 11:42am

Ancient humans just couldn't stop having sex with Neanderthals

The human genome carries an average of 1% to 4% Neanderthal DNA, which means our ancient human ancestors must have interbred with our extinct evolutionary cousins. That raises an obvious next question: why did humans have sex with Neanderthals? » 2/07/12 3:15pm 2/07/12 3:15pm

How Mitochondrial Eve connected all humanity and rewrote human evolution

This month marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of Mitochondrial Eve, the common ancestor of every human alive today. Here's everything you need to know about why the mother of humanity is so important. » 1/24/12 3:07pm 1/24/12 3:07pm

The difference between humans and chimps is all in the junk DNA

Humans and chimpanzees share up to 99% of the same DNA, which is particularly remarkable considering we don't look anything like each other. The reason behind our vast difference in appearance is all thanks to our seemingly useless so-called "junk" DNA. » 10/25/11 11:41am 10/25/11 11:41am

The bizarre toad that's part clone, part lover, and all hybrid

Reproductive arrangements don't get much stranger than those of the Batura toad of Pakistan. The entire species is the result of two unknown species interbreeding, and each toad carries three sets of genes...which makes passing on its genome extremely tricky. » 10/16/11 2:30pm 10/16/11 2:30pm

The Black Death is surprisingly similar to modern bacteria

The plague that wiped out over a third of Europe's population in the 14th century came from a bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. Now we've sequenced its genome...and it's weirdly, almost worryingly identical to its modern descendants. » 10/16/11 1:10pm 10/16/11 1:10pm

Why does the naked mole rat live 3 decades longer than other rodents,…

The naked mole-rat lives for thirty years - compared to 1-2 years for other rodents - and we've never found any evidence that it can get cancer. Now we're peeking inside its genome to figure out what makes it special. » 7/05/11 4:00pm 7/05/11 4:00pm

Your spit can reveal how old you are

Your spit can pinpoint your age to within five years, making it by far the most accurate age test yet found. This discovery could help identify how old crime scene suspects are, as well as reveal people's true biological ages. » 6/23/11 4:30pm 6/23/11 4:30pm

Human mutation is much more unusual than we ever suspected

For the first time ever, we can track the number of genetic mutations in each generation of a human family. Humans are mutating at a downright glacial pace, with a shockingly tiny number of mutations passed on in each generation. » 6/13/11 11:34am 6/13/11 11:34am

Why humans are all much more related than you think

All humans can trace their family tree back to a surprisingly small group of common ancestors. Every person on Earth's most recent common ancestor might have died less than 2000 years ago. » 4/13/11 9:24am 4/13/11 9:24am

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

Genetic fossil record reveals the evolution of life 3 billion years ago

Life has been around for billions of years, but it's only about 580 million years ago that organisms start leaving behind fossils. But our modern genes provide a window into the past, revealing how life developed billions of years ago. » 12/19/10 1:30pm 12/19/10 1:30pm

The first step toward building a mouse from synthetic DNA

Scientists have successfully created a small part of the DNA needed to build a mouse from scratch. It's just a step on on the long road to synthetic life, but in the short term their breakthrough could prevent genetic disease. » 10/11/10 12:56pm 10/11/10 12:56pm

Japanese flower has the biggest genome in the world

A rare flower known as Paris japonica has a genome 50 times bigger than humans'. With 149 billion base pairs of DNA, it's the biggest genome in the world, and stretched out end-to-end it would be taller than Big Ben. » 10/08/10 10:30am 10/08/10 10:30am

How to build a new species by inverting its genome

The yellow monkeyflower is in the process of splitting into two separate species. But how does this happen? Now scientists understand better how to make one species into two. » 9/29/10 3:00pm 9/29/10 3:00pm

California Company Offers Genome Sequencing on the Cheap

The research company Complete Genomics has figured out a way to sequence the human genome for less than $5,000 in chemicals, making it seem more likely than ever that affordable genetic profiles will become a thing of the mainstream. » 11/15/09 10:00am 11/15/09 10:00am

No Neanderthal Ancestors for Modern Humans

If ancient homo sapiens got it on with their Neanderthal cousins, there were no children to show for it. Researchers studying Neanderthal DNA have sequenced half of the Neanderthal genome, and shoot down the theory that European humans interbred with the now-extinct species. And the team says the genome has other… » 12/09/08 2:17pm 12/09/08 2:17pm