genetics

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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Flower Or Flesh? Genetics Explain Mosquito Preference

Imagine a world in which mosquitoes choose blossoms over blood. Nice, right? There already exists a mosquito species called Wyeomyia smithii in which most of the bugs refuse blood meals in favor of sweet floral nectar. And new research is helping to explain the evolutionary genetics of the switch from blood sucker to flower fanatic. The researchers, including co-lead author David Denlinger of The Ohio State…

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DNA Reveals That Silky Anteaters Are Seven Species

The silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus) has previously been recognized to be a single species divided into several sub-species. But a new genetic analysis, published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, suggests that this enigmatic mammal is not one species, but seven separate ones. Lead author Dr. Flávia Miranda, a researcher with the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil, and…

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Google Has Released an AI Tool That Makes Sense of Your Genome

Almost 15 years after scientists first sequenced the human genome, making sense of the enormous amount of data that encodes human life remains a formidable challenge. But it is also precisely the sort of problem that machine learning excels at. On Monday, Google released a tool called DeepVariant that uses the latest AI techniques to build a more accurate picture of a…

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Everything Your Biology Teacher Told You About Earlobes Is Wrong

Most of us learned in high school biology that genetics can sometimes be incredibly simple. Some physical traits are the result of an easy equation containing a pair of parents’ genes. One trait—blue eyes, for example—results from recessive genes, but only if no dominant gene—the one to thank for brown eyes—shows up to take a stand. Parents each pass on two…

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CRISPR-Carrying Nanoparticles Edit the Genome

In a new study, MIT researchers have developed nanoparticles that can deliver the CRISPR genome-editing system and specifically modify genes in mice. The team used nanoparticles to carry the CRISPR components, eliminating the need to use viruses for delivery. “What’s really exciting here is that we’ve shown you can make a nanoparticle that can be used to permanently and specifically edit…

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