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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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 ...
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 ...
How gene therapy could help fight methamphetamine addiction

How gene therapy could help fight methamphetamine addiction

Gene therapy, which modifies a person’s DNA, has long been thought of as a way to treat genetic diseases—and, more recently, ...
The leaves on the tree of life are almost all microbes

The leaves on the tree of life are almost all microbes

Planet of the insects? Heck no. Planet of the microbes. Science has long struggled with estimating how many species of ...
Stressed out? It could alter your sperm

Stressed out? It could alter your sperm

Sperm from stressed-out dads can carry that stress from one generation to another. “But one question that really hasn’t been ...
How choosing genetically similar partners shapes our genomes

How choosing genetically similar partners shapes our genomes

Chances are, you’re going to marry someone a lot like you. Similar intelligence, similar height, similar body weight. A new ...
Exploring national security risks related to gene editing

Exploring national security risks related to gene editing

Technology is advancing exponentially and the exciting field of genome editing is no exception. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison ...
Nano-mapping DNA mutations with CRISPR could transform disease treatment

Nano-mapping DNA mutations with CRISPR could transform disease treatment

A team of scientists led by Virginia Commonwealth University physicist Jason Reed, Ph.D., have developed new nanomapping technology that could ...
Women may have something to gain from male infertility

Women may have something to gain from male infertility

The plot of P.D.James’s dystopian novel The Children Of Men revolves around a provocative thought experiment: what would happen if ...
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 ...
Evidence ancient humans not 'violent apes' but distinctly compassionate

Evidence ancient humans not ‘violent apes’ but distinctly compassionate

[Editor's note: Penny Spikins is an archaeologist who specializes in early prehistory and human origins.] Yes, there is evidence of interpersonal violence ...
Video: Here’s how CRISPR gene editing works

Video: Here’s how CRISPR gene editing works

Gene editing is in the news a lot these days, but what is it exactly? Gene editing is the process ...
Viewpoint: Cost of gene therapy could put experimental treatments out of reach for most

Viewpoint: Cost of gene therapy could put experimental treatments out of reach for most

Drugs that modify human genes have the potential to cure intractable diseases with just one treatment. Few could disagree that's ...
Canadian researchers can't use CRISPR in human embryo research

Canadian researchers can’t use CRISPR in human embryo research

In the United States, using genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR to make genetic alterations that can be passed on ...
FDA details risk-based cellular therapy and regenerative medicine guidelines

FDA details risk-based cellular therapy and regenerative medicine guidelines

The FDA has issued two final guidances and two draft guidances, all designed to articulate the agency’s approach to developing ...
Fighting Zika: Gene edited, 3-eyed flightless mosquitoes

Fighting Zika: Gene edited, 3-eyed flightless mosquitoes

[I]n an effort to demonstrate how gene editing could be used to eradicate the mosquito species Aedes aegypti —a major carrier of ...
Checkpoint inhibitors fight cancer–but can have nasty side effects

Checkpoint inhibitors fight cancer–but can have nasty side effects

Yale University immunologist Kevan Herold spoke about a few of his newest diabetes patients to an unlikely audience: oncologists and ...
Genetics can’t determine your indigenous heritage

Genetics can’t determine your indigenous heritage

Collectively, genetics studies have shown us that the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas are descended from a group that diverged ...
Has the mystery of who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls been solved?

Has the mystery of who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls been solved?

Dozens of skeletons discovered in the Judean Desert may finally reveal who wrote the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, a mystery that ...
Despite the hype, there was no 'successful' human head transplant

Despite the hype, there was no ‘successful’ human head transplant

In February 2015, Sergio Canavero appeared in this very publication claiming a live human head will be successfully transplanted onto ...
New T-cell treatment shows promise for treating leukemia

New T-cell treatment shows promise for treating leukemia

A new way of genetically altering a patient’s cells to fight cancer has helped desperately ill people with leukemia when ...
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 ...
Fighting aging: Mutation found in Amish population adds 10 years to lifespan

Fighting aging: Mutation found in Amish population adds 10 years to lifespan

New research now shows that some humans possess a genetic equivalent to [an anti-aging] drug. A small number of Amish people in ...
'Fault-free obesity': How much are fat-storing genes causing expanding waistlines?

‘Fault-free obesity’: How much are fat-storing genes causing expanding waistlines?

Obesity is often attributed to a simple equation: People are eating too much and exercising too little. But evidence is ...
Should we populate other habitable worlds with life from Earth?

Should we populate other habitable worlds with life from Earth?

Our galaxy may contain billions of habitable worlds that don’t host any life. Should we attempt to change that? Claudius ...
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 ...
Ex-NFL player first living person diagnosed with CTE

Ex-NFL player first living person diagnosed with CTE

Researchers published, what they say is the first case of a living person identified with the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic ...
Why does testicular cancer respond better to chemotherapy? Stem cells

Why does testicular cancer respond better to chemotherapy? Stem cells

It’s because of the stem cells. Cornell University researchers determined that for testicular cancer, those cells are more capable of responding ...