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Making the Mind

Making the Mind. "The general outlines of how genes build the brain are finally becoming clear, and we are also starting to see how, in forming the brain, genes make room for the environment’s essential role. While vast amounts of work remain to be done, it is becoming equally clear that understanding the coordination of nature and nurture will require letting go of some long-held beliefs."
posted by homunculus on Jan 17, 2004 - 16 comments

Genetic Sexual Attraction

A new brand of incest. "You're 40, happily married - and then you meet your long-lost brother and fall passionately in love. This isn't fiction; in the age of the sperm donor, it's a growing reality: 50% of reunions between siblings, or parents and offspring, separated at birth result in obsessive emotions. Last month, a former police officer was convicted of incest with his half-sister - but should we criminalise a bond hardwired into our psychology?"
posted by Hildegarde on Jan 12, 2004 - 51 comments

This is Bob. Bob has bitch tits.

Breasts on men — most people's only knowledge of this stems from Fight Club (his name was Robert Paulson), but Gynecomastia is a very real medical condition, often a side effect of Klienfelter Syndrome. This person's experiences with their gender identity (raised primarily as a girl, then switching to being publicly masculine when older) while growing up with Gynecomastia in a small town fascinated me. (First FPP!)
posted by djwudi on Nov 10, 2003 - 23 comments

A pox on both your houses...

New form of mousepox developed. A scientist has created an extremely deadly form of mousepox (a relative of smallpox) through genetic engineering. The new virus kills mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs as well as a vaccine that would normally protect them.
posted by Irontom on Oct 30, 2003 - 42 comments

The human genome and the new eugenics

"We are becoming the masters of our own DNA. But does that give us the right to decide that my children should never have been born?" John Sundman is a science fiction novelist and the father of two children with severe medical conditions. In this two-part article he shares his experiences and thoughts on bioethics, the Human Genome Project and whether genetics research is paving the way for a resurgent eugenics movement.
posted by homunculus on Oct 24, 2003 - 56 comments

The basics for being.

Gene Stories. "If your parents kept on having children, they’d have to visit the maternity hospital another million billion times to stand a chance of producing another child with your genes" (unless you're an identical twin of course).
posted by lola on Sep 19, 2003 - 5 comments

Weird world Series

Carter defends GM crops



40 years?
posted by magullo on Sep 5, 2003 - 20 comments

father of the year

Two of his children dying from a rare genetic disorder, Dad -- with no science background whatever -- starts a biotech company for the sole purpose of developing a drug that will cure them. Heartrending conflicts ensue. "Many times, I'd be talking aloud about programs and budgets, and at the back of my mind be thinking, 'Oh my God, this is not good for Megan and Patrick.' "
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Aug 26, 2003 - 25 comments

Trans Ova Genetics: Pharming Cows

In lieu of today's posts on GM foods and meat, Trans Ova Genetics is pharming cows in hopes of creating one capable of adminstering human antibodies.
posted by hobbes on Aug 25, 2003 - 5 comments

The HRE was neither holy nor roman, talk amongst yourselves (about GMOs)

Today the British government released a major report on the safety of genetically modified foods. According to New Scientist, "existing genetically modified crops and foods pose a 'very low' risk to human health and are 'very unlikely' to rampage through the British countryside", but others disagree.
posted by turbodog on Jul 21, 2003 - 58 comments

Glow Fish

Who wants a fish that glows in the dark? Coming soon to the US, fluorescent fish! I can finally get rid of my night light.
posted by Ron on Jun 19, 2003 - 11 comments

When humans faced extinction

When humans faced extinction: A new study suggests that around 70,000 years ago there may have been as few as 2,000 individual humans, meaning that we could have been wiped out before we even got started. Related article here.
posted by 40 Watt on Jun 18, 2003 - 34 comments

Not MY great grandmother......

Eek eek! - Jennings Bryan spins in his grave: "Chimpanzees are so closely related to humans that they should properly be considered as members of the human family, according to new genetic research." [BBC] In the early 1900's, Jennings Bryan offered $100 in cash to anyone who signed an affidavit declaring that he personally was descended from an ape.
posted by troutfishing on May 20, 2003 - 45 comments

Come a little closer now....

I yearn for your tasty flesh

[ Gene Study Finds Cannibal Pattern ] - "Deep in the recesses of the human heart, lurking guiltily beneath the threshold of consciousness, there may lie a depraved craving — for the forbidden taste of human flesh. The basis for this morbid accusation, made by a team of researchers in London, is a genetic signature, found almost worldwide, that points to a long history of cannibalism" (NYT)
posted by troutfishing on Apr 11, 2003 - 45 comments

Lamont, you dummy!

Stupidity should be cured, says DNA discoverer. "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great."
posted by ColdChef on Feb 28, 2003 - 22 comments

Toughness Gene

Those crazy scientists have discovered a gene that determines how sensitive somebody is to pain. The gene comes in two forms, and you get one from each parent, so a quarter of the people end up tough, half end up in the middle, and the other quarter comprise of wusses. Interesting stuff.
posted by zeoslap on Feb 21, 2003 - 14 comments

Dolly's gone

Dolly is dead. "The type of lung disease Dolly developed is most common in older sheep. And in January 2002, it was revealed that Dolly had developed arthritis prematurely. She was cloned using a cell taken from a healthy six-year-old sheep, and was born on 5 July 1996 at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland."
posted by 111 on Feb 14, 2003 - 20 comments

DNA and sampling

I just discovered the answer to a question I asked here. Apparently, the police can get a DNA sample from a suspect without the suspect's knowledge or consent. The police probably had a warrant, but the article doesn't say.
posted by titboy on Feb 7, 2003 - 7 comments

That means no Planet of the Apes II, I guess

Going bananas. The only fruit to ever appear on a Velvet Underground album cover (not to mention the title of a J. D. Salinger short story) may be on its way to extinction. Facts: I) total disappearance could occur within a decade; II) bananas are the staple diet for half a billion people and III) current genetic tampering mean that, even if the fruit doesn't quite disappear, it will taste and look different (Guardian article here). Feeling nostalgic already? Visit the stylish Banana Museum or give someone you love the Enchanted Banana of Happiness (not what you're thinking). first link via Fark
posted by 111 on Jan 15, 2003 - 53 comments

genetic spill

Biological Incident Even the food industry is concerned when medicinally-modified crops spread their genes to food crops. How can accidental or intentional contamination be stopped? Is even the USDA's power to quarantine and destroy enough?
posted by kablam on Nov 16, 2002 - 2 comments

It's New, It's Wonderful, it's....No Cry Onions!

It's New, It's Wonderful, it's....No Cry Onions! from the nature.com website, scientists have identified the enzyme that causes a "tickling" of your tear ducts, ergo the ensuing crying. More genetically altered food - how are we feeling about this?
posted by djspicerack on Oct 16, 2002 - 36 comments

Gene Prevents 'Brains Everywhere'

Gene Prevents 'Brains Everywhere' The human version of the gene probably is not involved in keeping the human brain inside the skull, but likely plays some other role in nervous system development in human embryos, says Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, a developmental biologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Cool.
posted by Grod on Oct 11, 2002 - 6 comments

Since Genetically Modified Organisms are a big no-no in Europe, some scientists are now focusing their efforts on TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes), a novel technology for rapid selection of a mutation in any gene from mutant plant, through the use of a mutagen, Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS). Will this method be seen as less dangerous than Genetic Engineering à la Monsanto? During my search on this topic, I stumbled on this entertaining story about DIY genegeneering.
posted by titboy on Oct 9, 2002 - 6 comments

Need a user's manual for your DNA?

Need a user's manual for your DNA? Sure that there's some bug in there you could fix if you knew how to? Here are the tools you'll need. I know the web isn't relly about one-to-many publishing, but just sometimes it does it wonderfully well.
posted by alloneword on Sep 16, 2002 - 3 comments

Orlando police find crack cocaine on Gov. Bush's daughter

Orlando police find crack cocaine on Gov. Bush's daughter Knowing that W struggled as an alcoholic and with cocaine, and seeing his daughters hit the headlines with their excesses, I wondered if there was a genetic pre-disposition toward addiction. Apparently, this theory is not new.
posted by stevis on Sep 10, 2002 - 30 comments

Mutated genes account for speech.

Mutated genes account for speech. Evidence now suggest that our ability to speak is based on a slight mutation in a particular gene. The mutation is only slightly off from other animals. What genetic discovery thus far do you think will have the most rewarding results?
posted by mhaw on Aug 14, 2002 - 22 comments

They're farther along than I thought...

They're farther along than I thought... You may have heard about Nexia Biotechnology, who have put spider genes into goats to get milk with spider silk protein in it. I thought it was still in the research phase, but Nexia have apparently gone to market with the stuff. They've signed agreements with several manufacturers to produce spider silk protein-based products such as lightweight ballistic armor (like Kevlar, only lighter and non-toxic to produce) for the armed forces and super-strong sutures and prosthetic ligaments for medical supply companies.
posted by RylandDotNet on Jul 21, 2002 - 7 comments

Turning on a single gene

Turning on a single gene makes mouse brains grow huge, and fold in the skull similarly to human brains. Fancy discussing Derida over tea with a rodent? more inside...
posted by daver on Jul 18, 2002 - 38 comments

The Icelandic company Decode Genetics

The Icelandic company Decode Genetics may have the lead in creating a catalog of the deviant genes that cause most diseases. Led by Dr. Kari Stefansson, the project uses a novel combination of genotyping living Icelanders and comparing the results to Iceland's unique genealogical database that extends back 1100 years. With Iceland's other project to completely switch from fossil feuls to hydrogen power, my admiration for that island of Vikings keeps growing stronger. (2nd and 3rd links are nytimes, free registration required).
posted by homunculus on Jun 18, 2002 - 6 comments

Are heart disease, cancer and schizophrenia caused by pathogens?

Are heart disease, cancer and schizophrenia caused by pathogens? The logic basically goes that a genetic disease cannot have a very high rate of occurrence as natural selection would prevent that gene from surviving (leaving the few occurrences of the disease that are caused by random mutation). Also: how to make diseases more benign by altering the parameters to their natural selection.
posted by fvw on Jun 10, 2002 - 19 comments

Attack of the Hollywood Clones

Attack of the Hollywood Clones Flametracker investigates how some actors are being cloned so that they can work on twice as many projects. See also Julia Roberts and Monica Potter, Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman, Robert Redford and Brad Pitt ...
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 25, 2002 - 18 comments

Panda Dog!

Panda Dog! I don't know what kind of dog it is (and I thought I was a dog-knowing expert) but I want one. If anyone can help me out with the breed (if it isn't a bizarre dog-panda hybrid) I would be really quite grateful...
posted by rikabel on Apr 5, 2002 - 18 comments

NYT: Cousin Marriage A'OK, Says Study

NYT: Cousin Marriage A'OK, Says Study
    A new article in the Journal of Genetic Counseling reviewing recent studies on incidence of birth defects among children of cousins finds that the increaed risk is so slight as to not warrant discouraging cousin marriage. Discouraging marriage and conception between first cousins is common in the US although in many societies, the first (cross) cousin is the preferred spouse. (1, 2)
posted by rschram on Apr 3, 2002 - 13 comments

Scientists in Australia have discovered a new gene. Called BRCA3, this genetic mutation causes up to 10% of the breast cancer cases which run within families. This breakthrough completes the search for the trilogy of gene mutations. The first two gene mutation markers were discovered in 1994 and 1995 respectively.
posted by lucien on Feb 8, 2002 - 1 comment

'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,'

'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,' the article asks is human evolution over? Two interesting "facts?" "points?" 1) the blending of our genes which will soon produce a uniformly brown-skinned population. Apart from that, there will be little change in the species. 2) Just consider Aids, and then look at chimpanzees,' says Jones. 'You find they all carry a version of HIV but are unaffected by it. Something very similar could soon happen to humans. In a thousand years... Link via www.cursor.org.
posted by bittennails on Feb 4, 2002 - 39 comments

Surely Pork and Apple?

Surely Pork and Apple? The leader of a maverick team of biotechnicians has created Pigs with an implant of spinach genes. Lambs are to have mint sauce implant in the near future?
posted by Spoon on Jan 31, 2002 - 3 comments

A procedure known as haploidisation

A procedure known as haploidisation could allow lesbian couples to have a baby that shares both their genes. The procedure may be available in 18 months' time. Sperm? We don't need no stinking sperm!
posted by homunculus on Jan 22, 2002 - 41 comments

Dolly

Dolly the Sheep cloned five years ago has arthritis already. Already this year we've had pigs cloned for trasplants. Where is this all going and how ethical is it?
posted by brettski on Jan 4, 2002 - 18 comments

We may grow old because we don't get cancer.

We may grow old because we don't get cancer. Researchers have identified a gene called p53 whose function is to minimize tumors, but it may also cause aging as a side effect.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jan 2, 2002 - 14 comments

The genetically modified cat is out of the proverbial bag.

The genetically modified cat is out of the proverbial bag. New study finds traces of GM corn DNA in wild maize fields, over 60 miles away from the closest possible source. Are GM crops still the great idea that Monsanto thought they were? [via the pocket]
posted by mathowie on Dec 3, 2001 - 34 comments

CCR5

CCR5 This gene encodes for a protein on T cells that allows HIV to enter and replicate. It's also another reason why AIDS has less of an effect on European populations - 10-15% of Northern Europeans carry a defect that doesn't allow the attachment, so 1% or so is homozygous for the 'faulty' gene and appears to be completely resistant to HIV/AIDS.
posted by phoenix enflamed on Dec 1, 2001 - 1 comment

Environmentalism faces a values test as genetically engineered pigs produce less polluting excrement. My advice: Why not just leave it up to these guys?
posted by Zbobo on Oct 26, 2001 - 5 comments

Glowing Pig News

Glowing Pig News Great to take to parties..... (Hurrah for my first ever link that hasn't been found in previous threads...)
posted by Spoon on Oct 12, 2001 - 13 comments

Finally, a voice of reason.

Finally, a voice of reason. Glad it's all so simple.
posted by marknau on Sep 14, 2001 - 15 comments

A major advance in genetically modified foods.

A major advance in genetically modified foods. Developed with government funding, and intended eventually to be given away to farmers, there has been a major success in the use of salt water to irrigate crops. They've developed a tomato which grows fine in salt water or on salty soil. Thousands of lives will be saved in parts of the world where fresh water for irrigation is scarce, including up to one third of the arable land in India where salt has been accumulating. Interestingly, these tomatoes are so good at what they do that they remove salt from the soil, improving it. The genetic modification which was done to these tomatoes should be possible with many other crops, including especially rice (on which major effort in Egypt is underway now).
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 30, 2001 - 39 comments

Scientists are making DNA that uses letters other than AGCT

Scientists are making DNA that uses letters other than AGCT
Underlying the chemicals is a code. DNA is composed of pairs of four types of proteins. This project at Scripps Research Institute is attempting to design a DNA which uses different proteins to convey genetic information. The ultimate goal would be to have a functioning organism with a genetic code that uses a different "alphabet" to "communicate" the same "message" You know what this means? If they can get it to work, language wins! The world will truly be proven to be a "discursive" formation. (The language metaphor comes courtesy of the NYT, but I believe it is more than apt.)
posted by rschram on Jul 23, 2001 - 16 comments

In favour of the death penalty?

In favour of the death penalty? Don't worry, it's in the genes
posted by twistedonion on Jun 18, 2001 - 10 comments

"Mr. Dyson, I'm pleased to inform you that your grandmother didn't sleep around."

"Mr. Dyson, I'm pleased to inform you that your grandmother didn't sleep around."
posted by lagado on Jun 10, 2001 - 8 comments

A success for gene therapy

A success for gene therapy to help hemophiliacs is announced. This is a first, but only time will tell if the treatment has a lasting effect and can be repeated. So far it's worked for only four of the six patients in the trial. The NY Times explains the research.
posted by caraig on Jun 7, 2001 - 5 comments

I come from a long line of inbreeders.

I come from a long line of inbreeders. No more laughing at them there bills from the hills! It seems all us white folk are related to only 50 frisky ancestors!
posted by srboisvert on May 10, 2001 - 14 comments

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