science
Extinct Giant Panda Lineage Discovered Thanks to DNA From 22,000-Year-Old Skull

DNA from a 22,000-year-old fossilised panda skull suggests an entirely separate lineage of giant pandas once roamed the area that is now southern China. Read More >>

science
Another DNA Testing Company Reportedly Gets Fooled by Dog DNA

Consumer DNA testing is going to the dogs. A Canadian testing company has been accused of sending back supposedly human ancestry results on a faux sample that actually came from a chihuahua named Snoopy, CBC News reported Wednesday. Remarkably, it’s the second company reported to have been fooled by doggy DNA in recent months, but the full story behind the sting is even weirder. Read More >>

science
A Defunct Pregnancy Drug May Still Affect the Grandchildren of Women Who Took It

The ties that bind us to our ancestors might be even more influential than we knew, suggests a new study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. It found that the grandchildren of women who took a certain hormone-mimicking drug before the 1970s were at higher risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to children whose grandmothers didn’t take the drug. Read More >>

science
I Tried a DNA-Optimised Skin-Care Routine – and I Was Allergic to It

The pitch was a skin-care routine designed especially for me, genetically optimised to give me the skin I was “born to have.” The reality was decidedly more itchy, flaky, and red. Read More >>

science
How Hibernating Squirrels Could Ease the Organ Shortage Crisis

Squirrels and other hibernating animals have an almost magical ability to withstand frigid temperatures. New research has uncovered the biological factors involved in keeping cellular structures intact during hibernation—a finding that could eventually be used to preserve human organs prior to transplantation. Read More >>

dna testing
I DNA Tested My Cat and She Was Not Happy About It

I was crawling around on the floor, chasing my cat, Avalanche, as she artfully wriggled away from me over and over again to gnaw at the piece of tape I had stuck to her grey and white fur. Avalanche had unwittingly become a victim of journalistic inquiry: I wanted to explore the latest fad in consumer DNA testing, genetic analysis for pets. But rather than somehow coax my cat to spit in a tube, Basepaws required that I stick a piece of tape to Avalanche’s body, then “gently” pull it off. Except it turns out that there is no way to gently rip tape off of an animal completely covered in two-inch-long fur. My cat was furious with me for hours. Read More >>

science
Scientists Find Another Possible Explanation for Why Hair Goes Gray

Scientists think they’ve stumbled upon a newly discovered mechanism that could explain why some people’s hair turns gray and others become afflicted with patches of unpigmented skin, a rare, stigmatized condition called vitiligo. Their research, published Thursday in PLOS Biology, suggests a gene that regulates the natural pigment melanin also keeps our immune system from turning on itself. Read More >>

science
Artificial Genome Scientists Want to Build Human Cells That Are Impervious to Viruses

Two years ago, a consortium of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs announced a plan to synthesise an artificial human genome from scratch—an extremely ambitious endeavour that’s struggled to secure funding. Project organisers have now disclosed details of a scaled-down version of the venture, but with a goal that’s still quite audacious: creating human cells that are invulnerable to infections. Read More >>

science
Report: A DNA Testing Company Could Not Tell the Difference Between Human and Dog DNA

Dog may be man’s best friend, and even genetically similar to humans, to boot, but there are enough key differences that it shouldn’t be too hard to distinguish between human and doggy DNA. Read More >>

genetics
Largest Study of Its Kind Identifies 44 Genetic Risk Factors for Depression

Depression is a tricky beast. Symptoms vary widely from person to person, as does the response to treatment. But there’s no question that genetic makeup plays an important role, and understanding the genetic architecture of depression could help us better understand how to treat it. Read More >>

science
How a Massive Effort to Sequence Genomes of 1.5 Million Species Could Help Preserve Life on Earth

In what will undoubtedly be the largest genomic sequencing effort of all time, an international consortium of researchers is organising a massive effort to collect and sequence the DNA of Earth’s 1.5 million known eukaryotes, the domain of organisms that includes animals, plants, and fungi. Read More >>

science
Forget the Double Helix – Scientists Discovered a New DNA Structure Inside Human Cells

Guided by the work of Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the the twisted-ladder structure of DNA in 1953, a finding that gave rise to the modern field of molecular biology. It was by understanding DNA’s double-helix form that science was able to begin unravelling the many mysteries of genetic code. Read More >>

23andme
23andMe Is Working to Make DNA Data More Diverse

When you mail off a sample of your spit to find out about your ancestry, companies like 23andMe compare your DNA to other people around the world, seeing how closely your genes match the genes of people in, say, Norway, in order to deduce whether your ancestors might have been Norwegian, too. Read More >>

science
Rare Mutation Among Bajau People Lets Them Stay Underwater Longer

The Bajau people of Malaysia and the Philippines are renowned for their free-diving abilities, often working eight-hour shifts in search of fish and other sea critters. Underwater sessions can last upwards of two minutes, with accumulated daily totals of breath-holding often reaching five hours. New research suggests these impressive feats aren’t the result of training, but rather, an example of natural selection at work—which, in this case, has endowed Bajau individuals with abnormally large spleens. Read More >>

science
Researchers Trying to Map Every Cell in the Human Body Release First Data Set

Science textbooks will tell you that the human body has just a couple hundred types of cells. But efforts to catalogue all the cells in the human body suggest that number is a multiple many, many times larger. Read More >>