294 posts tagged with Genetics.
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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

Lincoln's ailment

Poor old Abe. He had an impressive medical history, as previously discussed. Will we ever figure out all his ailments? As an explanation for "his especially clumsy gait," one theory claims that he had Marfan's Syndrome (with good company). But now researchers are leaning more toward a new theory, that a gene-linked disorder called ataxia. But Lincoln also suffered from depression which could have been heriditary, for which he took "little blue pills" that gave him mercury poisoning, which could explain his insomnia, tremors and rage attacks, gait, and more. Of course, we also suspect that he was in the closet. Lincoln's DNA will continue to be a growth industry, at least until somebody can get hold of a sample of the old guy and figure him out for sure.
posted by beagle on Jan 29, 2006 - 34 comments

All the king's soldiers

How cocky was your great^10 grandfather? Up to 3 million men may be descended from an Irish King. Impressive but still well short of the estimated 16 million ancestors of Genghis Khan. Does the alpha male mojo that drives leadership also make a man a horndog or does being a high status male simply give one the opportunity that all men would gladly have? If you aren't constantly on the lookout for a new hen, perhaps you're not presidential material.
posted by missbossy on Jan 23, 2006 - 23 comments

genetics

Medieval Irish warlord boasts three million descendants.
posted by semmi on Jan 19, 2006 - 28 comments

Four Mothers, 3.5 Million People

Study finds that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews come from four Jewish mothers. Previously discussed on Metafilter: the peculiar genetics of Ashkenazi Jews and their impressive intellect.
posted by billysumday on Jan 13, 2006 - 153 comments

goodness.

Glowing green pigs. Scientists from Taiwan have successfully created a bioluminescent pigs with genes from a jellyfish.
posted by delmoi on Jan 12, 2006 - 33 comments

Boys like trucks girl like dolls, the SSSM takes another hit

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.

But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes, a new study by Dr. Gerianne Alexander finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots. What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia. Previously on MetaFilter: Pinker vs. Spelke, Gender and Brain morphology, Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck".
posted by orthogonality on Dec 8, 2005 - 80 comments

green, black, brown, blue?

Not settled after all partial genetic explaination of eye color. it's not one classic dominant/recessive allele a la the monk Mendel. three known + unknown genes involved, everybody's still beautiful.
posted by longsleeves on Dec 8, 2005 - 19 comments

Say cheese!

This just in! First photo of Flying Spaghetti Monster taken using bacteria!
posted by brundlefly on Nov 27, 2005 - 51 comments

Fear is so passe

Scientists find fear gene; can an army of [literally] fearless soldiers be far away? (Plus some good things, too.)
posted by ryanhealy on Nov 17, 2005 - 40 comments

Gay Germ Theory

What if being gay were a disease?
posted by missbossy on Oct 3, 2005 - 102 comments

D to the N to A

DNA: frightening government privacy invasion tool of tomorrow or beautiful source of personal art today?
posted by mathowie on Sep 11, 2005 - 18 comments

Brain Gain

Genes Reveal Recent Human Brain Evolution. Two important new papers in the journal Science (available here) from the evolutionary geneticist and rising star, Bruce T. Lahn (see this recent profile from The Scientist), are potentially the tips of some very large icebergs. The papers document how two genes related to brain properties that underwent strong selection during the course of hominid evolution, have continued undergoing strong selection since the emergence of anatomically modern man. The papers wonderfully illustrate how biological evolution is an ongoing process as well as the artificial distinction between “micro” and “macro” evolution, and promise to be controversial for two reasons: First, the brain genes underwent the strongest selection during two periods of cultural and technological efflorescence (roughly 37,000 and 5,800 years ago). Second, the genes are distributed very differently in modern human population groups, existing at very high frequencies in some groups and being very rare in others, ensuring that the modern function of these genes will be a source of more research and much impassioned debate. More observations from anthropologist John Hawks.
posted by Jason Malloy on Sep 8, 2005 - 54 comments

Intelligent Design by Trial and Error

A more efficient microbe genome. A more efficient sorting algorithm. A more efficient keyboard layout.
posted by fatllama on Aug 26, 2005 - 8 comments

Genetics of fictional characters

Harry Potter and the Recessive Allele is a short letter to Nature, suggesting using the concept of wizarding heritage in the Harry Potter series to explain genetics to children. It's the latest forwarding fad among biologists. The cartoon in this newspaper version of the story sums it up best... The idea isn't new, however, because a quick Google search finds the same theory in a British newspaper article from 2003.
posted by easternblot on Aug 17, 2005 - 14 comments

Tubby tabby taste trouble trial transforms traditional thought

New research concludes that cats lack a functional sweet taste receptor, as reported in the new, free-access journal PLoS Genetics. Also: WaPo coverage, and the new family of Public Library of Science journals.
posted by rxrfrx on Jul 25, 2005 - 40 comments

Science, race, and genetics

The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence (PDF). A fascinating new theory from physicist turned renegade evolutionary theorist, Gregory Cochran (see this Atlantic Monthly cover story on Cochran's already path-breaking germ theory of disease), and genetic anthropologist Henry Harpending, proposes that a unique evolutionary history, and a number of improbably clustered neurologically related genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews could help explain their incredible intelligence test scores and extraordinary intellectual achievements (e.g. Ashkenazi Jews are 3% of the American population but win 27% of the Nobel Prizes). The paper is set for publication in the Journal of Biosocial Science, and is already getting major press in the New York Times and The Economist. Does the recent Harvard fracas over Larry Summers herald a new "arms race" in academic debate about genetics, man and society for the 21st century? [compelling post by Jason]
posted by mathowie on Jun 3, 2005 - 68 comments

Picture yourself in a boat on a river

Eye Color calculator.
posted by fandango_matt on May 10, 2005 - 20 comments

Deafness In White Cats

Genetics of the white cat is a fascinating subject.
posted by debralee on Apr 19, 2005 - 12 comments

Human Variety

The Nature of Normal Human Variety A talk with Dr. Armand Leroi (his website). "Almost uniquely among modern scientific problems [the problem of normal human variety] is a problem that we can apprehend as we walk down the street. We live in an age now where the deepest scientific problems are buried away from our immediate perception. They concern the origin of the universe. They concern the relationships of subatomic particles. They concern the nature and structure of the human genome. Nobody can see these things without large bits of expensive equipment. But when I consider the problem of human variety I feel as Aristotle must have felt when he first walked down to the shore at Lesvos for the first time. The world is new again." (via Arts & Letters Daily)
posted by Kattullus on Mar 29, 2005 - 17 comments

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