Ancestry & Evolution

The desire to understand our origins is primal. By examining our DNA over successive generations through the evolutionary process of inherited characteristics of human and animal populations–as well as from those species from which humans share a common ancestry–we can decipher our individual and collective past and develop medical innovations for the future.

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Racists are wrong: Both light and dark skin originated in Africa

Racists are wrong: Both light and dark skin originated in Africa

[L]ong-held racist assumptions based on skin color have been scientifically proven wrong, according to a groundbreaking new study in the ...
Will genetics ever be able to predict the next mass murderer?

Will genetics ever be able to predict the next mass murderer?

There have been repeated attempts over the past 50 years to find genetic links to criminal behavior or mass murderers ...
Human extinction could come within 5,100 years

Human extinction could come within 5,100 years

Every day, it seems, brings with it fresh new horrors. Mass murder. Catastrophic climate change. Nuclear annihilation. It's all enough to make a ...
Mild to murderous: Zika's one mutation evolution

Mild to murderous: Zika’s one mutation evolution

Zika has been around for some time – first identified in 1947 in Uganda -  but it was never really given much thought.  It ...
Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 16, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 16, 2017

Green technology: Disease-resistant GMO tomato that could eliminate need for copper pesticides, double yields–blocked by public fears | Paul McDivitt Sensory ...
Pumpkins, cucumbers, and watermelons diverged from a single melon ancestor

Pumpkins, cucumbers, and watermelons diverged from a single melon ancestor

About 100 million years ago, the genome of a single melon-like fruit copied itself. Over time, this one ancestor became ...
What do your Neanderthal genes do?

What do your Neanderthal genes do?

By sequencing a remarkably complete genome from a 50,000-year-old bone fragment of a female Neandertal found in Vindija Cave in ...
9 reasons why IQ really matters

9 reasons why IQ really matters

IQ is often dismissed as antiquated, misguided, or less important than personality traits. But according to Stuart Ritchie, an intelligence researcher ...
Humans are still evolving--the evidence is in how we age and who survives

Humans are still evolving–the evidence is in how we age and who survives

Although human evolution is seen as in the distant past, every minute biological decision results in ongoing human natural selection ...
'Final-cause thinking': Does biology and evolution need to be 'purposeful'?

‘Final-cause thinking’: Does biology and evolution need to be ‘purposeful’?

In the world of evolutionary biology, in particular, there is still a huge amount of final-cause thinking, despite the fact ...
Video: Evolution at work--RNA in New York City mice has changed so they can eat fast food

Video: Evolution at work–RNA in New York City mice has changed so they can eat fast food

With all its hustle, bustle, concrete, and congestion, they say New York City changes people. And that may be true, ...
How cosmology and creation coincide

How cosmology and creation coincide

Big Bang cosmology tells us that the universe has a beginning. Therefore, the universe as a whole has a cause; ...
Our Neanderthal ancestors affect how we look and act today

Our Neanderthal ancestors affect how we look and act today

Neanderthals are the closest evolutionary relatives identified to date of all people living today. They are so close to us ...
Sensory overload: Some people genetically wired to detest bright lights, big sounds

Sensory overload: Some people genetically wired to detest bright lights, big sounds

"This world is not built for sensitive people. In fact, our world is designed perfectly for those who are detached." ...
Are you reading this because you want to? Or because the neurons in your brain want you to?

Are you reading this because you want to? Or because the neurons in your brain want you to?

If you’ve ever read an article proclaiming that neuroscience disproves free will, you’ve probably heard of the Libet experiment. … ...
The role of emotions in problem solving

The role of emotions in problem solving

What is the purpose of emotion? More elaborately, how do the psychological and neurological mechanisms of emotion underlie a person’s ...
Being obese doesn't always mean you are metabolically unhealthy

Being obese doesn’t always mean you are metabolically unhealthy

To date, countless epidemiological studies have shown that as you move from a normal weight (BMI = 18.5-24.9 kg/m2) towards ...
Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 9, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 9, 2017

Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees? | Paul McDivitt Tick tock, circadian clock research ...
Do GMOs, pesticides cause cancer? The Amish would say 'no'

Do GMOs, pesticides cause cancer? The Amish would say ‘no’

Amish farmers may not get cancer as much, but it's not because they don't use pesticides or GMOs. In fact, ...
New species may be created by cellular 'mitonuclear conflict'

New species may be created by cellular ‘mitonuclear conflict’

In the complex cells of humans and other organisms, two different genomes collaborate to sustain life. The larger genome, with ...
Matrix phobia? Scientists put fears to rest—we are not living in computer simulation

Matrix phobia? Scientists put fears to rest—we are not living in computer simulation

Just in case it’s been weighing on your mind, you can relax now. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford ...
Guided evolution of wheat and other grains could feed growing population

Guided evolution of wheat and other grains could feed growing population

Can we breed wheat and other cereal grains with the ability to fertilize themselves? Researchers report promising results that could ...
Evaluating ape intelligence is as complicated as measuring human IQ

Evaluating ape intelligence is as complicated as measuring human IQ

Ape (especially chimpanzee) social intelligence, the authors [David Leavens and Kim Bard] say, has been routinely mismeasured because apes are ...
Mom was right: We get wiser with age and manage stress better

Mom was right: We get wiser with age and manage stress better

[Professor Dilip] Jeste points out that some things get better with age, like the ability to make decisions, control emotions, ...
Viewpoint: What are the odds on the future of humanity?

Viewpoint: What are the odds on the future of humanity?

The more we learn about the history of our own world, and the wider solar system, the more we see ...
Who gave humans genital herpes? Maybe this ancient ancestor

Who gave humans genital herpes? Maybe this ancient ancestor

Genital herpes infects about one in six American adults. But who was patient zero, the individual responsible for this irritating scourge? Researchers in ...
Is 'dark DNA' lurking as 'missing' mystery force in animal evolution?

Is ‘dark DNA’ lurking as ‘missing’ mystery force in animal evolution?

In some animals, stretches of essential DNA seem to be missing. However, this "dark DNA" is not really missing, it's ...
Once and for all, Ashkenazi Jews have limited Euro-Asian Khazarian heritage

Once and for all, Ashkenazi Jews have limited Euro-Asian Khazarian heritage

Since the late 19th century, the so-called “Khazarian theory” has promoted the idea that a bulk of Ashkenazic Jews living ...