Human Genetics Feature

The GLP tackles innovations in human genetics and biotechnology. We highlight the work of our own writers, as well as that of contributors from around the Web. The GLP does not take a position on genetics-related issues; any opinions expressed belong to the authors.

Categories include:

  • CRISPR and gene editing
  • Gene therapy
  • Stem cell research
  • Genetic diseases
  • Synthetic biology
  • Epigenetics
  • Biodrugs (pharmacogenetics)
  • Personal genomics
  • Ancestry and evolution
  • Ethics and regulations
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Viewpoint: Why so many scientific studies are flawed and poorly understood

Viewpoint: Why so many scientific studies are flawed and poorly understood

With misleading conclusions often reported from scientific research, it's important to be able to discern between legitimate studies and dubious ...
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Gene therapy challenge: How much should it cost and how do we pay for it?

When evaluating the high prices of one-time gene therapy treatments, should we look to the costs of organ transplants when ...
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Chasing a cure for narcolepsy—and why it should be a priority

For the first 20 years of his life, Henry Nicholls had a healthy relationship with sleep. Shortly after his 21st ...
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Why all identical twins who are overweight are not identically obese

Identical twins have the same genomes, but they don't always look exactly the same, particularly in regards to weight. Science ...
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Viewpoint: Why using gene drives to eradicate pests might not be such a good idea

Using gene drives to eradicate pests has a potential downside—DNA is constantly changing. That means gene drives have the potential ...
Turning night owls into early birds? It may soon be possible

Turning night owls into early birds? It may soon be possible

The discovery of a genetic mutation linked to night owl behavior raises the prospect of a drug treatment that would ...
How the brain resists when presented with scientific consensus on controversial issues

How the brain resists when presented with scientific consensus on controversial issues

Why do people refuse to change their views when confronted with scientific consensus? Research is starting to show us how ...
Anatomy of the demon Demogorgon from 'Stranger Things': Is there a real-life counterpart?

Anatomy of the demon Demogorgon from ‘Stranger Things’: Is there a real-life counterpart?

The Demogorgon, a creature from the hit Netflix show 'Stranger Things', resembles real life cellular slime mold ...
Kissing cousins: Understanding the genetic risks and benefits when close relatives marry

Kissing cousins: Understanding the genetic risks and benefits when close relatives marry

Endogamy––the marriage of relatives––is a controversial cultural practice. It can play surprising roles in health and disease ...
Brain addiction: Why stopping drug use is so difficult

Brain addiction: Why stopping drug use is so difficult

Drug addiction is a commonly misunderstood disease. Once addicted, it’s not only about pleasure seeking or choice, but chemical reactions ...
Synaesthesia: For those who lose their sight, colors can have sound

Synaesthesia: For those who lose their sight, colors can have sound

Vanessa Potter lost her sight. As she recovered, her senses mingled – hearing and touch changed the way she saw ...
Does air pollution reach the womb, eventually leading to heart disease and shorter lives?

Does air pollution reach the womb, eventually leading to heart disease and shorter lives?

New research gives expectant mothers reason to be more cautious with air pollution, which can cause damage to the critical ...
Have humans or any of Earth's creatures stopped evolving?

Have humans or any of Earth’s creatures stopped evolving?

Some of the planet's more bizarre creatures have prompted some observers to suggest that evolution, on occasion, is stopped in ...
Genetics of mental health yield surprising connections but no cures

Genetics of mental health yield surprising connections but no cures

Scientists are slowly uncovering the genes and mechanisms that cause mental health disorders, but we are a long way from ...
Searching for extraterrestrial life: Finding the right communication technology

Searching for extraterrestrial life: Finding the right communication technology

Scientists are looking for evidence of extraterrestrial communication across interstellar space. But what if other intelligent life forms are using ...
Viewpoint: Genetic engineering's benefits extend far beyond GMO crops and controversy

Viewpoint: Genetic engineering’s benefits extend far beyond GMO crops and controversy

In discussing biotechnology, too much controversy is focused on the crops developed by Monsanto and its competitors. Genetic engineering is ...
Can the microbiome join DNA and fingerprints in the CSI toolkit?

Can the microbiome join DNA and fingerprints in the CSI toolkit?

Some scientists argue that our individual microbiomes are unique enough that they can be used to help identify the perpetrators ...
Measuring intelligence and IQ, and the problems that presents

Measuring intelligence and IQ, and the problems that presents

For more than a century, IQ tests have been used to measure IQ. But their use is hotly debated by ...
Fighting antibiotic 'superbugs'—DNA sequencing helps in the battle

Fighting antibiotic ‘superbugs’—DNA sequencing helps in the battle

The successful effort to contain an outbreak of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) at a UK hospital demonstrates the ...
Childhood trauma: The kids are not alright and part of the explanation may be linked to epigenetics

Childhood trauma: The kids are not alright and part of the explanation may be linked to epigenetics

The old adage about kids being resilient and able to bounce back from early traumas isn't necessarily borne out by ...
Naming genetic diseases: There's more to it than you might think

Naming genetic diseases: There’s more to it than you might think

An effort is underway to streamline the way we name genetic diseases, with an emphasis on imparting useful medical information, ...
Can't get motivated? You may be able to blame your genes

Can’t get motivated? You may be able to blame your genes

Being apathetic may feel like following the path of least resistance. But studies of apathy in the brain show otherwise ...
Mars conundrum: How do we explore without contaminating the Red Planet?

Mars conundrum: How do we explore without contaminating the Red Planet?

Space exploration experts worry over what will happen if a human expedition introduces Earth's microbes to Mars. Are those concerns ...
Gene therapy creates boy's replacement skin from his stem cells

Gene therapy creates boy’s replacement skin from his stem cells

Doctors treated a 7-year-old boy’s devastating genetic skin disease—junctional epidermolysis bullosa—by genetically modifying his stem cells to create a new ...
Neurologic disorders may be linked to brain's immune system

Neurologic disorders may be linked to brain’s immune system

New research suggests there could be a link between certain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, and the brain's inability to clear ...
Two of a kind? Twins offer unique glimpse into human development

Two of a kind? Twins offer unique glimpse into human development

In the world of genetics, identical twins offer a valuable source for study. And they've shown that our genetic makeup ...
There's a reason you have trouble thinking and remembering when hunger sets in

There’s a reason you have trouble thinking and remembering when hunger sets in

Why is it so hard to think while you're hungry? Researchers now believe it may come down to one protein ...
Argument for rolling our clocks back: Your brain needs the morning boost

Argument for rolling our clocks back: Your brain needs the morning boost

Shifting the clock back one hour means more people won't have to wake up before sunrise. When you wake to ...