Human Genetics from around the Web

Every day, the staff of the Genetic Literacy Project scours the Web for stories on a range of human genetics issues, including gene editing, regulations and bioethics, gene therapy, epigenetics, personal genomics, evolution, ancestry and artificial intelligence. We publish excerpts of those stories and encourage our readers to visit the original publications for the complete stories.
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Uptown rats? Rodents in New York City have genetically adapted to different neighborhoods

Uptown rats? Rodents in New York City have genetically adapted to different neighborhoods

As a whole, Manhattan’s rats are genetically most similar to those from Western Europe, especially Great Britain and France. They ...
Proof the yeti exists? DNA analysis shows bone 'samples' came from bears

Proof the yeti exists? DNA analysis shows bone ‘samples’ came from bears

In the fall of 2013, Charlotte Lindqvist got a call from a film company making an Animal Planet documentary about ...
Can we solve the patent issues that threaten CRISPR research?

Can we solve the patent issues that threaten CRISPR research?

[Editor's note: Lawrence Horn is President and CEO of MPEG LA, which provides licenses for standards and other technology platforms.] Although recent ...
Video: World’s tiniest tape recorder made with CRISPR and built from microbes

Video: World’s tiniest tape recorder made with CRISPR and built from microbes

[H]ere’s a use for the bacteria we bet you’ve never considered: Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center have created the world’s ...
Five new genetic links to autism found

Five new genetic links to autism found

Five novel genetic variants have been linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a new study. The research, released ...
Podcast: CRISPR co-creator Jennifer Doudna addresses ethics of human genome editing

Podcast: CRISPR co-creator Jennifer Doudna addresses ethics of human genome editing

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jennifer Doudna about the gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9. They ...
Insecticide resistance threatens to derail malaria control in Africa

Insecticide resistance threatens to derail malaria control in Africa

The largest genetic study of mosquitoes has found their ability to resist insecticides is evolving rapidly and spreading across Africa, ...
Evolutionary tradeoffs: How DNA works so living things have a 'competitive advantage' to survive

Evolutionary tradeoffs: How DNA works so living things have a ‘competitive advantage’ to survive

Evolution is a game of trade-offs. Every trait an organism inherits may have benefits and drawbacks; what matters to natural ...
Health or ancestry? How to choose the right genetic test for you

Health or ancestry? How to choose the right genetic test for you

Every so often, someone asks me which [genetics] test I recommend. And my answer boils down to one question: What ...
Sharpening CRISPR gene-editing accuracy with 'molecular glue'

Sharpening CRISPR gene-editing accuracy with ‘molecular glue’

[A]lthough [CRISPR] technology reliably finds and cuts the targeted stretch of DNA sequence, fixing that cut as desired has been ...
Chimeras: The genetics behind this amazing-looking 'two-faced' cat

Chimeras: The genetics behind this amazing-looking ‘two-faced’ cat

Meet Quimera the cat—she’s no ordinary feline! You’ve probably never seen any animal quite like her. Her furry face is ...
Mom was right: Teenagers’ brains can’t process what’s important and what’s not

Mom was right: Teenagers’ brains can’t process what’s important and what’s not

Adults are generally pretty good at being able to tell when a situation is worthy of extra time or concentration ...
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 ...
How our autistic ancestors helped shape human evolution

How our autistic ancestors helped shape human evolution

[W]hen we talk about the autism spectrum – we are all “a bit autistic” – and we all fit somewhere ...
Evidence Earth is billions of years old abounds, so why don't creationists believe it?

Evidence Earth is billions of years old abounds, so why don’t creationists believe it?

[Editor's note: Sabine Hossenfelder is a physicist and Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.] Planet Earth formed around ...
Viewpoint: Newsweek's surprisingly unscientific view of the genetics of obesity

Viewpoint: Newsweek’s surprisingly unscientific view of the genetics of obesity

[Editor's note: Dr. Charles Dinerstein is a retired vascular surgeon.] In a nod to science, Newsweek reported that there might be genetic underpinnings ...
Hepatitis B treatable with unique new strategy—using bacterial DNA

Hepatitis B treatable with unique new strategy—using bacterial DNA

Two hepatitis B virus vaccines are currently on the market. Earlier in November, however, the Food and Drug Administration licensed ...
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 ...
Should we 'genetically modify' humans to fit the demands of space travel?

Should we ‘genetically modify’ humans to fit the demands of space travel?

It takes something special to be an astronaut – an extraordinary combination of bravery, fitness, intelligence, lightning-fast decision-making and calmness ...
Senator Chuck Schumer sounds alarm over personal genomics privacy

Senator Chuck Schumer sounds alarm over personal genomics privacy

[W]ith the holiday season in full swing, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on [November 26] called for more scrutiny into popular ...
Why did 5 leukemia patients die in 2016 CAR-T trial?

Why did 5 leukemia patients die in 2016 CAR-T trial?

More than a year after five leukemia patients died from an experimental treatment involving genetically engineered immune cells, its developer ...
Why life-saving gene therapy isn't available yet to children who need it most

Why life-saving gene therapy isn’t available yet to children who need it most

[The first patient to permanently edit his DNA,] Brian Madeux, 44, of Arizona, is part of a clinical trial testing ...
Challenging Mendel: Does the female egg woo sperm with specific genes?

Challenging Mendel: Does the female egg woo sperm with specific genes?

[Researcher Jon Nadeau’s] hypothesis—that the egg could woo sperm with specific genes and vice versa—is part of a growing realization ...
Non-antibiotic sepsis-fighting drug could save millions of lives

Non-antibiotic sepsis-fighting drug could save millions of lives

The state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) in southeast India is perhaps not the first place you’d expect to find a ...
So much data to store: Can DNA solve our problem?

So much data to store: Can DNA solve our problem?

Many pundits predict it’s just a matter of time till DNA pips magnetic tape as the ultimate way to store ...
Key to understanding Down syndrome may rest in chromosomes

Key to understanding Down syndrome may rest in chromosomes

Some scientists call it the "final frontier" of our DNA—even though it lies at the center of every X-shaped chromosome ...
How evolution contributed to the demise of the passenger pigeon

How evolution contributed to the demise of the passenger pigeon

Passenger pigeons were once the most abundant bird in North America, and quite possibly the world. … In a matter ...
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 ...