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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Sudden increase in Zika’s potency linked to small mutation

Sudden increase in Zika’s potency linked to small mutation

It remains one of the great mysteries of the Zika epidemic: Why did a virus that existed for decades elsewhere ...
Why evolution does not weed out all genetic diseases

Why evolution does not weed out all genetic diseases

To anyone with a basic understanding of evolution, it should seem puzzling that deadly genetic diseases, passed on from one generation to ...
Is society ready or willing to embrace an Artificial Intelligence deity?

Is society ready or willing to embrace an Artificial Intelligence deity?

Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley ...
Collapsing bubbles may have given rise to life

Collapsing bubbles may have given rise to life

The origin of life is a profound mystery. Once life arose, natural selection and evolution took over, but the question ...
Lee Berger: Paleoanthropologist 'rewriting' human evolutionary history

Lee Berger: Paleoanthropologist ‘rewriting’ human evolutionary history

[Lee Berger] is the palaeoanthropologist behind the recent discoveries of not one but two new species of human ancestor. The ...
Tick tock, circadian clock research wins Nobel Prize—and why it may help us sleep and travel to Mars

Tick tock, circadian clock research wins Nobel Prize—and why it may help us sleep and travel to Mars

Our clock system is in organisms across the planet. Better understanding of our internal body rhythms may help pave the ...
Lava tube cities could be key to colonization of Moon and Mars

Lava tube cities could be key to colonization of Moon and Mars

[R]esearchers at the European Planetary Science Congress, an annual meeting of that serves as a “dissemination platform” for new space studies, ...
Will 'reviving' extinct species lead to ecological quandaries?

Will ‘reviving’ extinct species lead to ecological quandaries?

The gastric brooding frog is no regular frog. Like some horror story of ancient myth, it gives birth out of ...
Your DNA may have been altered by childhood stress and traumas

Your DNA may have been altered by childhood stress and traumas

[W]e’re finding out that our DNA isn’t always set in stone. Now, a team of researchers from Northwestern University led ...
Oldest African DNA found in Malawi cave fills some of human ancestry's 'crucial gaps'

Oldest African DNA found in Malawi cave fills some of human ancestry’s ‘crucial gaps’

A great irony about Africa is that, even though it’s the birthplace of our species, we know almost nothing about ...
Postpartum depression: It impacts dads, too

Postpartum depression: It impacts dads, too

Postpartum depression affects fathers, too. Men experience lower testosterone levels throughout pregnancy and paternal care, increasing the chance of depression ...
Viewpoint: Inequality rooted in social conditions not biology

Viewpoint: Inequality rooted in social conditions not biology

[Editor's note: Michael White is a professor of genetics at Washington University in St. Louis.] America, we've had a long ...
Virus dangers: Zika, SARS, dengue, 24 others could be transmitted through semen

Virus dangers: Zika, SARS, dengue, 24 others could be transmitted through semen

A dig through the literature has uncovered evidence of 27 distinct viruses from a wide variety of families capable of ...
Seeking human consciousness at the cellular level

Seeking human consciousness at the cellular level

To define human consciousness at the neuronal level is among the most difficult of tasks for neuroscience. Still, researchers have ...
Bible and the brain: How did ancient Israelites 'hear' God?

Bible and the brain: How did ancient Israelites ‘hear’ God?

James Kugel has been spent his entire scholarly career studying the Bible, but some very basic questions about it still ...
Neanderthal population estimate increases tenfold

Neanderthal population estimate increases tenfold

Some gene-based estimates put the Neanderthals’ effective population at a measly 1,000; others claim they hovered at a few thousand ...
Children receive four times as many genetic mutations from dads than moms

Children receive four times as many genetic mutations from dads than moms

Children inherit four times as many new mutations from their fathers than their mothers, according to research that suggests faults ...
Hive coup? Why queen bees are sometimes killed by workers

Hive coup? Why queen bees are sometimes killed by workers

[Editor's note: James Gilbert is a lecturer in zoology at the University of Hull.] A new study has shown that some bee workers ...
Oxitec to produce one billion Zika-fighting mosquito eggs each week

Oxitec to produce one billion Zika-fighting mosquito eggs each week

Plans to produce one billion mosquito eggs in the UK every week have been announced by a company working to ...
Genetic testing companies grapple with how to deal with white supremacists

Genetic testing companies grapple with how to deal with white supremacists

White supremacists are using cheap, rapid DNA-testing services such as 23andMe to post “evidence” of their white European ancestry on ...
CRISPR may allow us to choose the color of butterfly wings

CRISPR may allow us to choose the color of butterfly wings

Only nature can paint the gorgeous colors and patterns on a butterfly’s wings. But scientists said... they have mastered the ...
What if facial features do reveal sexual orientation?

What if facial features do reveal sexual orientation?

Drawing on databases of images collected from an online dating site, a new study conducted at Stanford University concludes that ...
Genetic mutation causes insulin production without eating carbs

Genetic mutation causes insulin production without eating carbs

Researchers have discovered how a genetic mutation may lead to excess production of insulin, a condition known as congenital hyperinsulinism, ...
Could violent genes be an excuse for committing crimes?

Could violent genes be an excuse for committing crimes?

The use of genetic data to establish a physiological basis for violent or impulsive criminal behaviors is occurring more frequently ...
Questioning the promise of anonymity for DNA donors

Questioning the promise of anonymity for DNA donors

Thousands of human genomes have been collected by research institutions around the world in recent years, as they attempt to find ...
Embryos aren't female by 'default' after all, study shows

Embryos aren’t female by ‘default’ after all, study shows

Every developing embryo, irrespective of its sex, at one point contains both male and female reproductive tracts, referred to as ...
Armor of tomorrow could be derived from these 3 animals

Armor of tomorrow could be derived from these 3 animals

Scientists are investigating what makes conch shells and fish scales so tough and designing their own versions. They’re even turning to materials ...
Proof of Viking warrior women? Maybe, but maybe not

Proof of Viking warrior women? Maybe, but maybe not

In a paper published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Uppsala University archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and her team announced that they had, at ...