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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Could gene editing have saved Charlie Gard?

Could gene editing have saved Charlie Gard?

The British infant died of a mitochondrial disease as news broke that US scientists had successfully edited a human embryo ...
Sports and war: With concussions, there's little difference between football, fighting

Sports and war: With concussions, there’s little difference between football, fighting

Evidence suggests "early aging" in the brains of troops is a result of experiencing bomb blasts. It may be similar ...
CRISPR revolution: How scientists are turning gene-editing hype into food and medical breakthroughs

CRISPR revolution: How scientists are turning gene-editing hype into food and medical breakthroughs

The powerful gene-editing tool is becoming ubiquitous, appearing in the media with ever increasing frequency. But it's more than just ...
Have the BRCA mutation? Debating a precautionary mastectomy? Your genes may provide a guide

Have the BRCA mutation? Debating a precautionary mastectomy? Your genes may provide a guide

A new study offers a better understanding of the risks, by age, associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. It ...
Our brains as hard drives -- could we delete, modify or add memories and skills?

Our brains as hard drives — could we delete, modify or add memories and skills?

Research suggests it might one day be possible to tweak our brains -- eliminating traumatic memories or granting new skills, ...
Pioneering gene therapy restores vision to people with rare retinal blindness

Pioneering gene therapy restores vision to people with rare retinal blindness

Spark Therapeutics is moving forward with its treatment for a type of inherited retinal dystrophy. In the wake of the ...
The obesity paradox: Why being fit may be more important than losing weight

The obesity paradox: Why being fit may be more important than losing weight

Instead of focusing purely on weight, a better approach is one that also considers a person's physical fitness when assessing ...
How can the human race survive? By overcoming biological urge to procreate

How can the human race survive? By overcoming biological urge to procreate

Physicist Stephen Hawking adds to a growing chorus of catastrophists in claiming that humans could face extinction in the next ...
Designer babies? US scientists swap DNA in embryos, replacing mutation that causes heart problems

Designer babies? US scientists swap DNA in embryos, replacing mutation that causes heart problems

The breakthrough procedure might better be called 'gene correction' rather than gene editing. It could revolutionize genetic disease treatments, but ...
How to teach evolution when students hold creationist views

How to teach evolution when students hold creationist views

University instructors employ a variety of methods when teaching evolution in classes in which large numbers of students reject the ...
'We are all mutants': Why genetic testing struggles to provide answers

‘We are all mutants’: Why genetic testing struggles to provide answers

Genetic tests often can help us diagnose disorders and determine risk factors for disease. But uncertainties surrounding genetic mutations makes ...
Are our views on religion, astrology and new-age beliefs hardwired?

Are our views on religion, astrology and new-age beliefs hardwired?

Our beliefs, including irrational ones such as an embrace of pseudoscience and 'fake news', have been shown to be somewhat ...
Isolated influenza mutations may help predict future global flu trends

Isolated influenza mutations may help predict future global flu trends

A study of flu evolution in four patients with long-term infections revealed mutations that later appeared, independently, around the world ...
How facial recognition software may help identify genetic disorders

How facial recognition software may help identify genetic disorders

The technology might help in diagnosing rare genetic disorders. But the depiction of its promises and challenges by the media ...
15 facts about fecal transplants – The straight poop

15 facts about fecal transplants – The straight poop

Fecal transplants carry a certain ick factor for many people. But there is a legitimate medical use for them -- ...
Ignore at your own peril: Race plays role in cancer and other health risks

Ignore at your own peril: Race plays role in cancer and other health risks

It may be uncomfortable to discuss, but there are genetic and biological differences among races and genders. Ignoring these factors ...
Why identifying 'autism genes' is so elusive

Why identifying ‘autism genes’ is so elusive

Researchers are unlocking the mystery of autism's origin. Yes, it's mostly 'in the genes,' but what that means is one ...
Did life originate on Earth? It's becoming more difficult to say 'yes'

Did life originate on Earth? It’s becoming more difficult to say ‘yes’

Discovery of Earth-sized planets and of microbial fossils as old as 4.5 billion years may shed light on the question ...
Gut feeling: Microbiota could aid fight against depression, high blood pressure and weight gain

Gut feeling: Microbiota could aid fight against depression, high blood pressure and weight gain

The trillions of microorganisms in the gut affect our physical and mental state in myriad ways. Can we influence this ...
Rare genetic diseases can arise from unsuspecting carriers

Rare genetic diseases can arise from unsuspecting carriers

Discovery of the rare disease -- marked by blindness, deafness, fragile bones and albinism -- could lead to genetic screening ...
Unwanted genes: Why can't we just edit them out of our lives?

Unwanted genes: Why can’t we just edit them out of our lives?

Gene therapy 2.0 using CRISPR to knock out harmful genes sounds is a great idea--if and when it works. But ...
Are your food choices killing you?

Are your food choices killing you?

Scientists, the media and policymakers often make glib connections between certain foods, nutrition and disease. The links are a lot ...
To combat evolution denial, teach kids genetics first

To combat evolution denial, teach kids genetics first

A new study suggests teaching children genetics first may help them better understand how and why humans have evolved ...
Chasing origins of anorexia: Genetics may play role in the complicated disorder

Chasing origins of anorexia: Genetics may play role in the complicated disorder

Anorexia has long been treated as a psychological condition. But recent research, including a landmark genome-wide association study, are prompting scientists ...
Smoking and health: Genetic revolution transforming medical marijuana and tobacco

Smoking and health: Genetic revolution transforming medical marijuana and tobacco

Our increased understanding of plant genetics has potential to help smokers quit and provide patients with the medicinal benefits of ...
Ectogenesis: Artificial placenta could aid premature babies, rekindle abortion debate

Ectogenesis: Artificial placenta could aid premature babies, rekindle abortion debate

Survival rates are likely to be improved for infants born prematurely, and those requiring invasive treatments -- including surgery, cell ...
Evolution and war: The ‘deep roots’ theory of human violence

Evolution and war: The ‘deep roots’ theory of human violence

War has long been viewed as a way for societies to acquire wealth and power, even though it often doesn't ...
Drug weapons: Computer designed proteins prepare to battle the next pandemic

Drug weapons: Computer designed proteins prepare to battle the next pandemic

Researchers are using computer modeling to design new antiviral proteins that could slow down, or stop, global outbreaks of deadly ...