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First clone of extinct species

In 2000, the Spanish Pyrenean Ibex (a type of mountain goat) went extinct. In early 2009 it was brought back to life, the first time an extinct species has been "successfully" cloned. The newborn bucardo died of respiratory failure minutes after birth, setting a second extinction record.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 15, 2009 - 34 comments

 

DIY DNA research

Hugh Reinhoff has sequenced his daughters DNA at home attempting to diagnose her unique genetic mutation. [more inside]
posted by jacalata on Feb 2, 2009 - 22 comments

The Genomic Self

My Genome, My Self: Steven Pinker considers what we can expect from personal genomics. Searching for Intelligence in Our Genes: Carl Zimmer looks at the hunt to learn about the role of genes in intelligence.
posted by homunculus on Jan 10, 2009 - 6 comments

Green Genes

"Leaves that crawl".... Assimilated chloroplasts give a species of sea slug its deep green glow; and to keep it, Elysia Chlorotica becomes even a little more plant-like....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Nov 25, 2008 - 23 comments

The gene is in an identity crisis

Now: The Rest of the Genome. "Only 1 percent of the genome is made up of classic genes. Scientists are exploring the other 99 percent and uncovering new secrets and new questions."
posted by homunculus on Nov 11, 2008 - 13 comments

Remember to Forget

Dr. Joe Z. Tsien has previously created a strain of mice unable to form memories, one with much improved memory - "Doogie" mice - and can now erase single mouse memories. "Our work reveals a molecular mechanism of how that can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells." Remembering to forget....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Oct 24, 2008 - 45 comments

How We Evolve

How We Evolve: "A growing number of scientists argue that human culture itself has become the foremost agent of biological change, making us — for the past 10,000 years or so — the inadvertent architects of our own future selves." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 9, 2008 - 49 comments

Small tweak to DNA may have given us our unique hands

Fingering What Make Us Human: Did a gene enhancer humanise our thumbs?
posted by homunculus on Sep 7, 2008 - 41 comments

genome quilts

Genome Quilts "The quilts are visually pleasing, with their strong colors and seemingly traditional design, but they hide and reveal an entirely other construct of information." [via]
posted by dhruva on Sep 5, 2008 - 8 comments

retrovirally transforming pancreatic cells from adult mice into insulin-producing beta cells

Scientists Repurpose Adult Cells - "Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research." [nature abstract, nature writeup, audio announcement]
posted by kliuless on Aug 27, 2008 - 21 comments

science and futurism overlap

One Pill Makes You Autistic -- And One Pill Changes You Back. It might also lead to recreational autism, where people who want to take a break from having messy emotions about other people decide to unplug and enter a state where human relationships are no more important than inanimate objects. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 18, 2008 - 67 comments

GATTACA

The first ever, it is believed, has been produced at Cornell University. The feat was apparently much overlooked, and has many concerned over the lack of public debate of this field of research. Genetically modified human embryos.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on May 13, 2008 - 45 comments

"Big Bird says it's time to wake up..."

A new round of genetic tests has confirmed it: The 'big lizards' of our childhood fantasies were more likely 'big birds.' In fact, they probably even had feathers, and looked more like this than this. Mind blowing, I know, but I guess this demonstrates that, despite what some may think, science really doesn't have a problem admitting that it got something wrong when new evidence comes to light.
posted by saulgoodman on Apr 24, 2008 - 75 comments

Neanderthal-Human Babies

Any admixture would have to be driven by male Neanderthals. Two years ago we discussed morphological evidence of nontrivial interbreeding. Since then Neanderthal DNA has been examined for genetic support for this model of human evolution, largely contradicting the belief in Neanderthal contribution to modern humanity. Indeed any contribution from the Neanderthal gene pool to the evolution of modern humans might be very rare and indeed it appears that the best candidate gene thus (MC1R) far likely was a result of convergent evolution. [more inside]
posted by wantwit on Mar 20, 2008 - 19 comments

23 And Me...And Google...And Your Genome

Want your genome on a hard drive but don't have the money? 23andMe can give you almost that: a scan of your SNPs, presented online and complete with analyses derived from up-to-date medical research (and a few educated guesses). Eight months ago, blogs were rife with speculation of who 23 could be and what the connection with Google could mean. [more inside]
posted by artifarce on Feb 3, 2008 - 33 comments

Am I Blue?

The allure of blue eyes has long been celebrated. In the Odyssey, Homer gives the goddess Athena "bright blue eyes," and our fascination persists to this day with actors like Brad Pitt and Naomi Watts. Until recently, however, no one could explain the phenomena. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Feb 2, 2008 - 38 comments

A Genetic Basis for 'Race'

'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2008 - 101 comments

Humans are evolving rapidly

Humans are evolving more rapidly than in the distant past, according to a new study published in PNAS. "The massive growth of human populations has led to far more genetic mutations, and every mutation that is advantageous to people has a chance of being selected and driven toward fixation. We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals", says lead author John Hawks. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Dec 10, 2007 - 136 comments

Somewhere, over the brainbow...

Brainbow. Using some very cool genetic tricks, Harvard scientists have found a way to make transgenic mice that express various mixtures of different coloured fluorescent proteins in their neurons. The result, individual brain cells with up to 90 distinct colours. Not surprisingly, this visually impressive work is in this month's issue of Nature.
posted by kisch mokusch on Nov 1, 2007 - 19 comments

Poor Devils

Devil facial tumor disease has ravaged the population of Tasmanian Devils in the last decade. DFTD is a transmissible cancer, i.e. the tumor cells themselves (which differ genetically from their host animal) are the agent responsible. The disease is spread by biting and other contact, and the resulting grotesque tumors interfere with feeding and lead to starvation. Poor immune response may be partially responsible. This is actually not the only such disease: canine transmissible venereal tumor is an analogue that has been known to be contagious since the 19th century. (CTVT, however, gets a proper immune response.) [more inside]
posted by parudox on Oct 29, 2007 - 7 comments

Fishy miscegenation

More cuckoo than cuckoos: mate two salmon, get a... trout! Just give the parents a sperm transplant. And the sperm stem cells work in females too:
...Injecting the male cells into female salmon sometimes worked, too, prompting five female salmon to ovulate trout eggs.... The stem cells were still primitive enough to switch gears from sperm-producers to egg-producers when they wound up inside female organs....

posted by orthogonality on Sep 15, 2007 - 10 comments

Genetic discrimination

U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits. "Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2007 - 43 comments

Recreational Genetics

As advances in DNA testing allow us to discover our genetic origins in ever-greater detail, many people are making surprising discoveries. Especially in the melting-pot that is the USA. Of course there are always those who feel that access to such information about who we are will only lead to bad things
posted by nowonmai on Jul 15, 2007 - 46 comments

"Double Muscle" Mutants

Myostatin is a genetic protein that affects muscle growth in humans and animals. Scientists have learned a lot about this protein from a noticeable myostatin mutation common in the Whippet dog breed. Whippets with one mutant copy of the gene are faster, so these are desirable for racing dog breeders. But selective breeding has caused increased instances of both copies of the myostatin genes mutating, which results in "double muscle" Incredible Hulk dogs!?
posted by p3t3 on Jul 13, 2007 - 27 comments

Race and breast cancer

A link between race and breast cancer. The findings of this study by a Philadelphia research team dovetail other recent findings, including those of Chicago researcher Funmi Olopade, a MacArthur winning doctor from Nigeria who is studying the genetic implications of the discovery. A Q & A with Dr. Olopade on her research. Dr. Olopade discussing her work on the Tavis Smiley show in 2003.
posted by The Straightener on Jul 10, 2007 - 7 comments

Etruscan origin riddle solved

The Etruscan civilization flourished in central Italy around the 6th century BC before the rise of the Roman Empire. Known for high art and high living, some say the Etruscans were influential in molding Roman and western civilization, however it has always been an enigma on where the Etruscans originally came from. DNA evidence has probably solved the mystery, confirming what Greek historian Herodotus first said over 2,500 years ago.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2007 - 33 comments

Fat is genetic

Fat is Genetic, from NY Times science writer (and sister of Judi Bari) Gina Kolata.
posted by serazin on Jun 19, 2007 - 126 comments

"The field of evolution attracts significantly more speculation than the average area of science."

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution." Despite Theodosius Dobzhansky's succint description of natural selection at the core of biological research since Darwin's fateful trip to the Galapagos, evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch respectfully dissents, asking "whether natural selection is a necessary or sufficient force to explain" the complexity of multicellular organisms we see today, where mutation, recombination and genetic drift are often overlooked, but critical factors in evolutionary theory and understanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 29, 2007 - 90 comments

This ought to make the insurance companies happy

Controversial geneticist Jim Watson will soon be the first man to receve a fully-decoded copy of his own DNA blueprint. Watson and Crick discovered the structure of the DNA molecule and won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Watson is also known for his frank opinions. Very frank, indeed.
posted by chuckdarwin on May 27, 2007 - 36 comments

Highly Sensitive People: if you prick us, do we not bleed? and burst into tears? and run from the room and fling ourselves down on the bed?

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? This trait ... is inherited by 15 to 20% of the population, and ... seems to be present in all higher animals. Being an HSP means your nervous system is more sensitive to subtleties. Your sight, hearing, and sense of smell are not necessarily keener .... But your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. Being an HSP also means, necessarily, that you are more easily overstimulated, stressed out, overwhelmed. This trait ... has been mislabeled as shyness (not an inherited trait), introversion (30% of HSPs are actually extraverts), inhibitedness, fearfulness, and the like. HSPs can be these, but none of these are the fundamental trait they have inherited ...
yahoo group | latest research (fascinating!) | newsletter | wikipedia | blog | via
posted by grumblebee on Apr 8, 2007 - 150 comments

"I would love to see it banished off the face of the Earth."

Bisphenol A: this extremely common chemical leaches out of food packaging and plastics, and was long considered safe. But a number of recent studies link it to developmental problems and cancer in lab animals in doses far lower than the current regulatory limit. Canada and the United States both review the scientific data available in the coming months, but critics already worry the process will be corrupted by industry. Industry, of course, insists that BPA is safe.
posted by mek on Apr 7, 2007 - 32 comments

Hatfields and the McCoys

As legends go, the first recorded instance of violence in the feud occurred after an 1873 dispute about the ownership of a hog: Floyd Hatfield had it and Randolph McCoy said it was his. The rest is Appalachian history. But it turns out that history may have had a helping hand in something called Von Hippel-Lindau disease. It weren't the moonshine, Pa. It was the DNA that did it.
posted by frogan on Apr 5, 2007 - 17 comments

It's Science!

The Phylogenetics of the Yeti.
posted by OmieWise on Mar 14, 2007 - 13 comments

English ? Scottish ? Irish ? What's the difference ?

...Historians teach that they are mostly descended from different peoples: the Irish from the Celts and the English from the Anglo-Saxons who invaded from northern Europe and drove the Celts to the country’s western and northern fringes. But geneticists who have tested DNA throughout the British Isles are edging toward a different conclusion. Many are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh have a great deal in common with each other, at least from the geneticist’s point of view, seems likely to please no one.
A United Kingdom? Maybe
See also Myths of British ancestry
In the words of one well known Basque cultural icon: HA Ha!
posted by y2karl on Mar 9, 2007 - 40 comments

What's good for the goose.....

It's genital evolution day! Penis evolution. For my money, evolution reached it's zenith with the Argentine Lake Duck. Plenty more MeFi penis related shenanigans here , including the penis museum.
posted by lalochezia on Jan 23, 2007 - 31 comments

Kinseyian mathematics, of a kind

The "Darwinian paradox" of homosexuality presents the conundrum of how a potential genetic basis for homosexual behavior could provide a survival benefit to offpsring and extend through generations, when sexual reproduction would seem to place strong selection pressure against such a "gene". Recently developed mathematical models (PDF) from researchers Sergey Gavrilets and William Rice not only show how a "gay gene" might proliferate within a population, but also provides testable hypotheses, including predictions of "widespread bisexuality" (subscription req'd).
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 14, 2007 - 68 comments

Save the blondes! Get a perma-puppy.

PermaPuppies - they never get big. Spoof commercial biotech site is just viral advertizing for Michael Crichton's new book, but some of the ads are fun.
posted by CunningLinguist on Nov 30, 2006 - 27 comments

Study turns human genetics on its head

Study turns human genetics on its head. "The genome is like an accordion that can stretch or shrink . . . so you have no idea what's normal. We have to think of genetics in an entirely different way. We're actually more like a patchwork of genetic code than bar codes that line up evenly. Everything we've been taught is different now."
posted by ZenMasterThis on Nov 23, 2006 - 28 comments

Interspecies fun (and benefits)

Neanderthal Lovin’! New research from evolutionary scientist Bruce Lahn suggests that humans and the now extinct Neanderthal species mixed, and humans snatched up a valuable brain gene in the process. (The gene, MCPH1, and Lahn, discussed last year on MeFi) This comes on the tails of yet another new study providing morphological evidence that there was nontrivial interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals in Eurasia, despite the fact that Neanderthals may have been genetically closer to chimps than humans. Contrary to popular imagination, though, the Neanderthal species had bigger brains and sophisticated intellects, at least roughly on par with that of human beings. The gene regulates brain size during development, but its exact utility to humans is still unknown (and controversial). The origin of this gene and the question of Neanderthal mixing will soon be answered more definitively by the, just launched, 2 year project to map the Neanderthal genome, headed by Svante Pääbo (profiled in recent Smithsonian and Wired articles). Pääbo calls Lahn’s study "the most compelling case to date for a genetic contribution of Neandertals to modern humans."
posted by Jason Malloy on Nov 8, 2006 - 26 comments

Mouse Brain Gene Map

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has made the Allen Brain Atlas available online for public searches. It contains maps of gene expressions in a mouse brain, searchable by gene, anatomy, or with boolean syntax. They also offer Brain Explorer, a 3-D program that lets you highlight particular genes, and rotate the model in any direction. Via
posted by owhydididoit on Oct 20, 2006 - 14 comments

Hello Morlocks!

Evolutionary theorist Dr Curry predicts humanity will "split in two". At the very least this should provide material for playground insults. At the top end, as Dr Curry says, we could be living in Wells' The Time Machine. Only without the time machine, sadly.
posted by imperium on Oct 17, 2006 - 70 comments

Metafilter of the brain

Neuroscience Gateway - "a comprehensive source for the latest research, news and events in neuroscience and genomics research"
posted by Gyan on Oct 2, 2006 - 6 comments

The United Celtic Kingdom.

The United Celtic Kingdom. A new study shows that most British are decended from the Celtic tribes that crossed over from Spain 7,000 years ago. Only 20% of the English are decended from Viking stock, even fewer are Anglo-Saxons.
posted by empath on Sep 21, 2006 - 42 comments

“There is no free lunch,’’ Dr. Sharpless said. “We are all doomed.”

The evolutionary reason behind senescence^ is one of the great mysteries of biology. Now cancer researchers may have discovered the key to why we age.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson on Sep 8, 2006 - 57 comments

BULLSH*T!

BULLSHIT! Penn & Teller present their rational, libertarian bent views on diverse subjects, now available for free download on Google Video ::: profanity; creationism; alien abductions; conspiracy theories; recycling; gun control; endangered species; religion; the bible; family values; the apocalypse; signs from heaven; the occult; 12-step recovery programs; exercise v. genetics; environmentalism; hypnosis; ghosts; the war on drugs; feng shui / bottled water; college; PETA; and abstinence.
posted by crunchland on Aug 11, 2006 - 114 comments

and lawnmowers everywhere fall into disrepair

The end of the lawnmower era is nigh. Microbiologist Joanne Chory may change the face of suburban one-upmanship as we know it. Imagine a weekend morning without the sound of lawnmowers. Can it really be just around the corner? Will men be willing to terminate their love/hate (mpg) relationships with their lawns? After all, a man and his mower are not easily parted.
posted by pmbuko on Jul 14, 2006 - 52 comments

GATTACA

The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology
posted by Gyan on Jun 16, 2006 - 14 comments

OMG hypoallergenic kitten!!!

The all-new sneeze-free cat this week joins a distinguished roster of altered organisms, such as glowing green pigs and bunnies, ampicillin-resistant maize and tomato, and even a potato with a bacterial pesticide spliced in. And don't forget OraGenics, the company that wants to infect your teeth with bacteria that won't cause decay - and will crowd out the ones that do. Brave New World, indeed. What's next?
posted by ikkyu2 on Jun 12, 2006 - 47 comments

Origins of blond hair.

Why are so many Europeans blond(e)? Recent genetics research shows blond appeared only about 10,000 years ago, too quickly for normal natural evolution; an anthropologist has a suggestion why.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 6, 2006 - 75 comments

All I want is peace and love on this planet / Ain't how that god planned it?

Black man, white woman, black baby...? So the song goes, but when two of those babies got together as adults, the already shaky formula of racial outcomes was shown to be fallacious by a million-to-one event: the birth of black and white twins. An interesting aside of a media event, to be sure... but underneath the surface lurks an interesting subversion of the intuitive basis of race itself. What race is anyone? Then again, are you sure? I ask because it's amazing how not sure you can be.
posted by illovich on Feb 28, 2006 - 47 comments

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