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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Sheep can identify faces in photos—and that may help us understand Huntington’s disease

Sheep can identify faces in photos—and that may help us understand Huntington’s disease

Researchers trained eight sheep to identify celebrity faces from photographs. The investigators also found that the sheep could identify a ...
How tracing the evolutionary family tree of all female lab mice will help improve medical research

How tracing the evolutionary family tree of all female lab mice will help improve medical research

Adam and Eve, a pair of black mice, lived for less than two years and never left their home at ...
Gene therapy boost: FDA positions for faster reviews of new treatments

Gene therapy boost: FDA positions for faster reviews of new treatments

The Food and Drug Administration on [November 16] issued new guidelines to speed the introduction of treatments involving human cells ...
Viewpoint: Ethical arguments against gene-edited embryos will crumble as technology advances

Viewpoint: Ethical arguments against gene-edited embryos will crumble as technology advances

[Editor's note: Michael White is a genetics professor at Washington University in St. Louis.] [S]cientists have developed an easy way to ...
Our brains grow and shrink when we learn—which is how we continue to absorb knowledge

Our brains grow and shrink when we learn—which is how we continue to absorb knowledge

Our past understanding of the brain would suggest that new knowledge requires new brain cells, and as a result our ...
Can gene tweaking lower our cholesterol? Using CRISPR and nanotechnology in mice

Can gene tweaking lower our cholesterol? Using CRISPR and nanotechnology in mice

U.S. researchers have used nanotechnology plus the powerful CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool to turn off a key cholesterol-related gene in ...
What makes a female? How XX embryos destroy male reproductive tissue

What makes a female? How XX embryos destroy male reproductive tissue

A protein called COUP-TFII is necessary to eliminate male reproductive tissue from female mouse embryos, researchers report in the Aug. 18 Science. For ...
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 ...
Siddhartha Mukherjee: Gene research critical in fight against cancer

Siddhartha Mukherjee: Gene research critical in fight against cancer

The human genome is integral to understanding the complex history of human health and disease. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a ...
Genetically engineered three-eyed beetle could aid development of lab-grown organs

Genetically engineered three-eyed beetle could aid development of lab-grown organs

Researchers have intentionally genetically modified a common beetle to develop a third functional eye, right in the middle of its ...
FDA likely to approve hereditary blindness gene therapy

FDA likely to approve hereditary blindness gene therapy

[A]nother gene therapy is on the cusp of approval, this time to treat a form of hereditary blindness. If given ...
Are 'gene drive' trials too risky for field studies?

Are ‘gene drive’ trials too risky for field studies?

In 2013, scientists discovered a new way to precisely edit genes — technology called Crispr... One of the more intriguing ...
Video: CRISPR gene editing in real time

Video: CRISPR gene editing in real time

[Researcher Osamu] Nureki’s paper was published in Nature Communications Friday, and by early morning, the video that astonished the room in [a CRISPR ...
Viewpoint: We need a conversation about gene editing and eugenics

Viewpoint: We need a conversation about gene editing and eugenics

[Editor's note: Karin Christiansen is head of research at the Centre for Health Technology at the Faculty of Health, VIA ...
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 ...
World Anti-Doping Agency says 'no' to gene editing in sports competitions

World Anti-Doping Agency says ‘no’ to gene editing in sports competitions

The battle between sports cheats and testers is poised to enter a whole new arena. The World Anti-Doping Agency has ...
A gene-editing first: Scientists try to edit a living human's DNA

A gene-editing first: Scientists try to edit a living human’s DNA

Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change ...
Biopesticides: Creating a mosquito-fighting bacteria wasn't easy—or fast

Biopesticides: Creating a mosquito-fighting bacteria wasn’t easy—or fast

[A]fter decades of international scientific effort, a new mosquito biopesticide (a pesticide that uses natural bacteria) has been approved. And it only took a year and ...
Veterans' suicide attempts linked to gene expression

Veterans’ suicide attempts linked to gene expression

Though they only compose 8.5% of the U.S. population, veterans make up 18% of all suicides. Complicating matters is that ...
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 ...
Viewpoint: We need constraints on artificial intelligence

Viewpoint: We need constraints on artificial intelligence

If there’s nothing magical about our brains or essential about the carbon atoms that make them up, then we can ...
Saving the Galapagos: Gene drives could help rid invasive pests

Saving the Galapagos: Gene drives could help rid invasive pests

Eradicating invasive species can be a brutal job. On the island of Floreana, a plan to eliminate the rodents that ...
Asteroid that killed dinosaurs had only 1-in-10 chance of causing extinction

Asteroid that killed dinosaurs had only 1-in-10 chance of causing extinction

The smack of the asteroid against Earth released energy on the order of billions of atomic bombs. Dinosaurs were the cataclysm's most famous ...
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 ...
Viewpoint: Consumers with risky genes shouldn't be penalized by insurers

Viewpoint: Consumers with risky genes shouldn’t be penalized by insurers

[P]eople who have genetic tests run the risk of being denied some insurance if the test turns out positive. Such ...
Dog genome project: How your breed originated

Dog genome project: How your breed originated

From the 80-kilogram Great Dane to the 1-kilogram tiny teacup poodle, there seems to be a dog for everyone. Now, ...
DNA profiles of 500,000 people put online by UK Biobank in massive research effort

DNA profiles of 500,000 people put online by UK Biobank in massive research effort

U.K. Biobank [recruited] 500,000 volunteers for a massive study on the origins of disease. In addition to collecting blood and urine, ...
Personalized health care? Precision medicine finally coming of age

Personalized health care? Precision medicine finally coming of age

Precision medicine means that doctors will use patients’ medical histories, genetic information and relevant research to create a treatment plan ...