genetics

Under poaching pressure, elephants are evolving to lose their tusks

Written by Dina Fine Maron for National Geographic. [Excerpt] “Their goal is to uncover more information about how these animals move, eat, and what their genomes look like. Long hopes to detail how elephants without the benefit of tusks as tools may alter their behavior to get access to nutrients. Rob Pringle, at Princeton University, plans to look at dung…

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‘It’s Not Science’: Experts Push Back Against Trump Health Department’s Sex Verification Plan

Written by Mary Emily O’Hara for intomore.com [Excerpt]: “In plain English, the federal government is proposing reclassifying transgender people’s legal sex back to the sex assigned at birth. And if that sex at birth was listed wrong or left unclear, the government wants to put people through genetic testing to ensure a sort of “gender purity,” as it were. The…

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How teeth became tusks, and tusks became liabilities

“The persistence of elephant poaching has prompted researchers to wonder whether elephants really needed their tusks, and whether they might not be better off if the tuskless trait were to spread more widely through the African population.  Shane Campbell-Staton, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues have begun systematically…

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New Guide For Finding Genes Linked With Behavior

Scientists interested in finding specific genes that influence the behavior of humans and animals have a new tool, thanks to a two-year research effort aimed at describing how to apply the latest techniques of molecular genomics to the study of complex behavior.  “There’s a really steep learning curve when you get into genomics, and if you’re starting from a place of…

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Received An At-Home DNA Test As A Holiday Gift? Proceed With Caution

If you or a family member received a consumer genetic testing kit as a holiday gift, you probably weren’t alone. Sales of at-home DNA testing kits reportedly soared in 2017, as people sought clues to their ancestry or future health. Some genetic-testing companies encouraged the purchase of kits as holiday gifts — even offering free gift wrapping. However, the results from…

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