have been the sci-fi dream of a generation, merging man and machine in
amazing new combinations. Most of which seem to look like major action
stars. But a team at the University of Copenhagen think that's amateur
hour. In fact they find the entirety of life of planet Earth to be
distinctly underwhelming, which is why they're working on an upgrade -
Continue reading "NextGen Triple-Helix DNA -It Could be Scary!" »
"Nearly all civilizations have their own origin or creation myth. Now we can use archaeogenetics to tell a global story that is robust and applicable to all human communities everywhere."
Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge,
In recent years, DNA evidence has added important new tools for scientists studying the human past. "To understand what it is to be human, it is essential to understand the human past," says Renfrew, who first coined the term "archaeogenetics" and is the author of a guest editorial in the special issue on Global Genetic History of Homo Sapiens in Cell (link below).
Continue reading "Genetic Exodus: DNA Tells 'Global Story' of Human Migration Out of Africa" »
'The next great war will start inside us. In the next stage of evolution, mankind is history'.
Greg Bear, Darwin's Radio
Michael Crichton would love this discovery: new research showed that about eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors, according to researchers in Japan and the U.S. The genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornaviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus. Research led by Professor Keizo Tomonaga at Osaka University in
Japan shows virally transmitted DNA may be a cause of mutation and
psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and mood disorders.
Continue reading ""Andromeda DNA?" Discovery Shows 8% of Human Genome from Viruses" »
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have determined for the first time that prions, bits of infectious protein devoid of DNA or RNA that can cause fatal neurodegenerative disease, are capable of Darwinian evolution.
Continue reading "'Lifeless' Proteins Discovered Capable of Evolutionary Change " »
One of the most important discoveries in human history is how
we're really a couple of pounds of gooey jelly inside our own skulls.
Since then we've been working on exactly how we come to be us: from
the psychology of our upbringings, to the chemicals that control our
mood, to the recent analysis of the fundamental genetic design of the
wiring. Now a study shows that we have a simple "Creative Psychopath
ON/OFF" switch, and whether you find that interesting or not might be
related to whether it applies to you.
Continue reading "Does True Genius Have a Genetic Basis? Experts Say "Yes" (With Possible Slightly Psychotic Side Effects)" »
DNA's shape is simultaneously the best and least understood arrangement
in biology. If we were to ask "What shape is DNA?" you'd answer "A
double-helix." Then we'd ask "How do you fit a two-meter long
double-helix ladder in a micrometer-scale cell?", and sneak a picture
of your confused expression.
Continue reading "MIT Team Unveils New 3-D Model of "You" " »
Oxygen, one of the by-products of photosynthesis by microbes such as cyanobacteria and their descendants -including algae and higher plants, transformed the Precambrian Earth and made possible the evolution of more complex organisms. Jeffrey Touchman, assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arziona State University is doing groundbreaking resaerch to illuminate large gaps in the available genetic data for photosynthetic microbes through the study of organisms known as phototrophic extremophiles living in unusually harsh and exotic environments such as the buried lakes of Antarctica where a biodiversity of extremophilic anoxygenic bacteria are known to exist.
Continue reading "Extreme Microbes Hint at Possible Lifeforms in the Universe" »
Nature has found a way send genetic information forward through time, and no, it doesn't involve Doctor Who finally getting with Rose. Tiny crustaceans can bury their young in the Earth for centuries, and scientists in the new and awesomely-named science of "resurrection ecology" are using these sleeping samples to study evolution.
Continue reading "DNA Time Travel - Species Discovered that Sleep for Centuries" »
Gear up for Gattaca, as an Italian court has reduced a murderer's sentence to account for his genes. Despite the fact the relevant genetic science isn't actually that advanced, the likely effects on the legal system, and the very real question of "Isn't that ass backwards?"
Continue reading "The "DNA Pardon": Murder Sentence Genetically Reduced" »
Although humans and chimpanzees genetically vary by just 1.2 percent,
that small percentage makes a world of difference in the mental and
linguistic capabilities between the two species. A study shows that a
certain form of neuropsin, a protein that plays a role in learning and
memory, is expressed only in the central nervous systems of humans. The
scientists conclude that this critical difference originated less than
5 million years ago.
Continue reading "Genetic Mutations that Set Humans Apart from Other Primates Identified" »