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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When genetic engineering came of age: World’s first GMO—GE insulin—approved 35 years ago

When genetic engineering came of age: World’s first GMO—GE insulin—approved 35 years ago

It has been 35 years since genetically engineered insulin was approved by the FDA in a process that was quick ...
Protecting against cancer: What can we learn from animals who live for centuries

Protecting against cancer: What can we learn from animals who live for centuries

There are an increasing number of genetic clues from animals that could provide hints to treating aging and age related ...
Genetics brought to bear in fight against modern cholera outbreaks

Genetics brought to bear in fight against modern cholera outbreaks

Although cholera is a disease that is thought of as mostly extinct, it still persists today in underdeveloped areas. The ...
Back from the dead: Rebooting the brain and our battle against mortality

Back from the dead: Rebooting the brain and our battle against mortality

We may be on the verge of redefining "brain death" following the partial revival of a man in France 15 ...
Time to stop treating men and women the same when it comes to drug treatments

Time to stop treating men and women the same when it comes to drug treatments

Studies have shown that males and females metabolize drugs differently, suggesting we should be spending more time studying those differences ...
If you lose any of these 7 organs, you'll probably be OK

If you lose any of these 7 organs, you’ll probably be OK

The human body has dozens of organs, with some clearly more critical than others. But there are several you can ...
When does life begin? Here are 17 points in time to consider

When does life begin? Here are 17 points in time to consider

The US Department of Health and Human Services has taken the official position that life begins at conception. Here's a ...
Born to exercise? 'Fitness' genes may help lower breast cancer risk

Born to exercise? ‘Fitness’ genes may help lower breast cancer risk

A growing number of studies show that exercise offers protection against breast cancer. Research on mice suggests that some of ...
Searching for ET in our Solar System requires methodical approach

Searching for ET in our Solar System requires methodical approach

The quest to find life in our Solar System is focused on locating planets or moons with the right chemical ...
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 ...
Cancers and other rare diseases in crosshairs of researchers using breakthrough DNA sequencing

Cancers and other rare diseases in crosshairs of researchers using breakthrough DNA sequencing

The improvements and discoveries in DNA sequencing in recent years has had immediate clinical consequences, including the real possibility of ...
How do you know if your mutation will lead to a genetic disease?

How do you know if your mutation will lead to a genetic disease?

Sonia Vallabh, a scientist, carries a rare mutation that normally causes a neurodegenerative disease. How likely is it she will ...
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 ...
Predicting Alzheimer’s: 31-gene test may offer strongest risk assessment

Predicting Alzheimer’s: 31-gene test may offer strongest risk assessment

The APOE4 e4 gene has long been associated with an elevated risk for alzheimer's. But a new test panel involving ...
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." ...
University student reflection: Let's take a balanced ethical and scientific look at genetic engineering

University student reflection: Let’s take a balanced ethical and scientific look at genetic engineering

Rapid advancements in the realm of gene editing are raising all sorts of questions with social and ethical implications. But ...
What do we know about wine as a magic elixir?

What do we know about wine as a magic elixir?

Is wine good or bad for you? Much of the attention surrounding the drink has focused on the compound resveratrol, ...
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 ...
Male fertility likely declining, but we haven't figured out why

Male fertility likely declining, but we haven’t figured out why

Studies tell us that difficult-to-measure male fertility has dipped in recent decades. But with many unknowns, we need to resist ...
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 ...
Treating aggressive brain cancer with poliovirus

Treating aggressive brain cancer with poliovirus

The idea of using a modified poliovirus as a treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer isn't new. But recent research shows ...
Insomnia cures: Do drug remedies provide the kind of sleep that our brain needs?

Insomnia cures: Do drug remedies provide the kind of sleep that our brain needs?

People spend billions on sleep remedies. The act of sleep and artificially assisting sleep are not on the whole a ...
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 ...
Using Zika in the fight against deadly brain cancer

Using Zika in the fight against deadly brain cancer

With traditional cancer-fighting tools--surgery, radiation and chemotherapy--proving ineffective against glioblastoma tumors, researchers are exploring an unconventional treatment using a weakened ...
Upchuck factor: Alcoholism targeted with novel gene therapy

Upchuck factor: Alcoholism targeted with novel gene therapy

Researchers are exploring the use of a naturally occurring mutation that causes people to get sick after drinking alcohol. The ...
Alzheimer's 'brain health' quiz likely to scare more than help

Alzheimer’s ‘brain health’ quiz likely to scare more than help

Critics question the integrity of a risk assessment sent to prospective patients by NorthShore University Health System's Center for Brain ...
Orthorexia nervosa: Do anti-GMO activists have this 'eating disorder'?

Orthorexia nervosa: Do anti-GMO activists have this ‘eating disorder’?

Orthorexia nervosa is being evaluated as a possible psychiatric diagnosis -- which is causing symptoms of anxiety among some people ...
Transhumanism and inequality: Enhancing human life could bring dystopian consequences

Transhumanism and inequality: Enhancing human life could bring dystopian consequences

Transhumanism may offer a pathway to an 'engineered paradise,' but there are many perils and pitfalls ahead -- particularly for ...