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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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 ...
How genes affect children's unique views of the world

How genes affect children’s unique views of the world

A new study co-led by Indiana University that tracked the eye movement of twins finds that genetics plays a strong ...
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 ...
Could ‘superantibiotics’ save us from rising drug resistance?

Could ‘superantibiotics’ save us from rising drug resistance?

The need for new classes of antibiotics has repeatedly been emphasised, with researchers turning to some of the most extreme environments on ...
Viewpoint: There’s no reason to panic over human germline editing

Viewpoint: There’s no reason to panic over human germline editing

[Editor's note: Hank Greely is a professor of law and genetics at Stanford University.] Controversy has raged about editing human ...
Brain autopsy of murderer Aaron Hernandez shows severe CTE damage

Brain autopsy of murderer Aaron Hernandez shows severe CTE damage

For the first time since announcing former NFL star Aaron Hernandez's CTE diagnosis in September, Boston University neuropathologist Dr. Ann ...
Ethical debates swirl around gene-editing decisions

Ethical debates swirl around gene-editing decisions

[Editor's note: Joselin Linder is the author of the book "The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance ...
Rodent-like creature may be our earliest ancestor

Rodent-like creature may be our earliest ancestor

The earliest known ancestors of the mammal lineage that includes everything from humans, to blue whales, to pygmy shrews may ...
Lung cancer progression linked to enzyme that promotes epigenetic changes

Lung cancer progression linked to enzyme that promotes epigenetic changes

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers from Nanjing University in China have identified an enzyme that promotes lung ...
Childhood trauma: The kids are not alright and part of the explanation may be linked to epigenetics

Childhood trauma: The kids are not alright and part of the explanation may be linked to epigenetics

The old adage about kids being resilient and able to bounce back from early traumas isn't necessarily borne out by ...
Naming genetic diseases: There's more to it than you might think

Naming genetic diseases: There’s more to it than you might think

An effort is underway to streamline the way we name genetic diseases, with an emphasis on imparting useful medical information, ...
US government pushes precision medicine research with Fitbit giveaway

US government pushes precision medicine research with Fitbit giveaway

In his 2015 State of the Union, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative — a massive research project designed ...
New error-free DNA sequencing method could diagnose rare diseases

New error-free DNA sequencing method could diagnose rare diseases

A virtually error-free new method of DNA sequencing could one day be used to diagnose extremely rare cancers and hereditary ...
Challenging the RNA origin of life theory

Challenging the RNA origin of life theory

The current consensus holds that life emerged from an ‘RNA-world’, first named by Nobel Laureate Walter Gilbert in 1986. This ...
FDA lightens up on 'outrageous' direct-to-consumer genetic information ban

FDA lightens up on ‘outrageous’ direct-to-consumer genetic information ban

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Scott Gottlieb is reeling in his agency's outrageous four-year ban on direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Under the ...
The quest to make CRISPR gene editing as easy as a smartphone app

The quest to make CRISPR gene editing as easy as a smartphone app

[Biohacker Josiah Zayner] lives and works in Oakland, California, where he's converted a house into a scientific lab. Here, he ...
Oldest known human fossils rewrite Homo sapiens history

Oldest known human fossils rewrite Homo sapiens history

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, around 62 miles west of what would eventually become Marrakesh, a group of people ...
Gut microbiome could influence response to cancer treatment

Gut microbiome could influence response to cancer treatment

When [cancer] drugs work, the immune system tramples tumors into oblivion. But they don’t always work—in fact, cancer drugs can ...
Deep freeze: Will climate change awaken long-frozen diseases?

Deep freeze: Will climate change awaken long-frozen diseases?

I visited Greenland because, lately, the land here has gone soft, and disquieting things threaten to wake in it. … ...
Getting behind the genetics of high-altitude adjustments

Getting behind the genetics of high-altitude adjustments

People who both travel to and live at high altitudes typically cope with lower oxygen levels by increasing red blood ...
Alcohol addiction: Can we blame our ancient ancestors?

Alcohol addiction: Can we blame our ancient ancestors?

[M]illions of years ago, being able to consume alcohol was likely vital to survival: our ancestors evolved to metabolize booze right around ...
'Kelp highway'--not a land bridge--likely brought first humans to the Americas

‘Kelp highway’–not a land bridge–likely brought first humans to the Americas

For decades, students were taught that the first people in the Americas were a group called the Clovis who walked ...
Microsoft’s foray into the quest to cure cancer

Microsoft’s foray into the quest to cure cancer

As Digital Journal has recently reported Microsoft has recently launched Healthcare NeXT, which is a cloud-based, artificial intelligence and research project ...
Can't get motivated? You may be able to blame your genes

Can’t get motivated? You may be able to blame your genes

Being apathetic may feel like following the path of least resistance. But studies of apathy in the brain show otherwise ...