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plant sex in silico

Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie - "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2014 - 52 comments

Nice basic guide to the three new-ish tools for rewriting Genes

Zinc-finger-nucleases, TALENs, and CRISPR, oh my! The three tools, especially the last one, CRISPR, make rewriting Genes doable. Now the "fun" begins.
posted by aleph on Feb 11, 2014 - 14 comments

Are you alive? If so, can you define what that means?

Why Life Does Not Really Exist
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 7, 2013 - 85 comments

PATIENT ZERO

There's A Whole New Way Of Killing Cancer: Stephanie Lee Is The Test Case [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 6, 2013 - 45 comments

"‘The gene does not lead,’ she says. ‘It follows.’"

The selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.
posted by overeducated_alligator on Dec 3, 2013 - 79 comments

Epigenetics in Feast, Famine: How Well Grampa Ate Could Impact Grandkids

Epigenetics (prev) is the study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. David Epstein, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated has written about this topic for his book The Sports Gene (not as reductive as the title might suggest), but cut the chapter because the material he researched was so new as to require that he "caveat the writing rather heavily." Instead, he shared his chapter How an 1836 Famine Altered the Genes of Children Born Decades Later on IO9. You can read or hear more about the book in a half-hour segment from NPR's Fresh Air, opening with a story of Jennie Finch, a softball pitcher who "just whiff[ed] the best hitters in the world." (Related video clip: FSN Sport Science - Episode 7: Myths - Jennie Finch, on the force of fast baseball vs softball; ends with smarmy teaser for a "sex test")
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 27, 2013 - 13 comments

Memes, memes, hedgehogs and sharks.

Richard Dawkins talks about memes. [SLYT, contains flashing images]
posted by zoo on Jun 25, 2013 - 47 comments

All Ur DNA Base R Belong To U

"We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated," Justice Clarence Thomas writes in the court's decision following a unanimous ruling in the case of Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., et al.. "Myriad did not create or alter either the genetic information encoded in the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes or the genetic structure of the DNA. It found an important and useful gene, but groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the §101 inquiry." [more inside]
posted by Hairy Lobster on Jun 13, 2013 - 100 comments

One genome, two plants

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From the Same Genome, and a Single Gene Can Make the Difference
One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference.

posted by Joe in Australia on May 12, 2013 - 24 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

Make Babies

"Older parenthood will upend American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake?" "Why do women believe they can delay children for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
posted by vidur on Dec 12, 2012 - 162 comments

One great step. The first gene linked to autism.

The etiology of Autism remains a mystery. However, three research teams have for the first time linked a gene to certain forms of autism. This is a great step in the search of what causes this disease.
posted by dov3 on Apr 6, 2012 - 42 comments

Can you spare 3 minutes a week to become fit?

Just three minutes a week of exercise can help make you fit. That's 180 seconds out of 604,800. 'This apparently outrageous claim is supported by many years of research'. 'A few relatively short bursts of intense exercise, amounting to only a few minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise, according to new research.''But how much benefit you get from either may well depend on your genes.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Feb 28, 2012 - 53 comments

Can't fit in the jeans because of the genes.

Couch Potatoes Explained - Missing Key Genes May Be Cause for Lack of Resolve to Exercise, Researchers Find. 'You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but McMaster University researchers have discovered it may be you are missing key genes.' 'The research appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Sep 7, 2011 - 67 comments

Cat Color Genetics

After decades of breeding, the complexity of cat color genetics is quite well understood. Genes which control pigmentation, hair length, color dilution, banding (agouti), white fur (dominant, spotting, or albino, sometimes linked with deafness), tabby patterns, and more combine to create a wide spectrum of possibilities. Specific traits such as white gloving among Birman cats and the amber color found only in Norwegian Forest Cats (which comes from a single female born in 1981!) have also been isolated and studied, and can be affordably tested for. On top of all that, fur color is epigenetic as well as genetic, and sometimes responds to the cat's environment. If you clone a calico cat, you get a kitten which doesn't have a similar coat due to X-inactivation, and pointed cats (such as Burmese, Siamese, and Tonkinese) have temperature-sensitive coloration. [more inside]
posted by vorfeed on Aug 28, 2011 - 90 comments

Collect 'Em All!

This is a game about breeding flowers. Each flower's traits are determined by its genes. Pick two flowers and their genes combine to create new variations. There is no aim in this game... Feel free to set yourself one. -- Rare Breeds: Petunia. (Flash.) [more inside]
posted by Gator on Jan 30, 2011 - 44 comments

Mushroom Sex

"People who use sows to hunt for truffles often find it hard to prevent a sex-crazed animal from eating the truffle she has found and may lose fingers in the attempt." (via) The NYT on decoding the genome of the Périgord Black Truffle . Attempts to make truffles cheaper and more accessible in the past have been met with some resistance.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 30, 2010 - 32 comments

Y Front Page Post

Indeed, at 6 million years of separation, the difference in [Y-chromosome] gene content in chimpanzee and human is more comparable to the difference in autosomal gene content in chicken and human, at 310 million years of separation.
It is commonly said that the Human and Chimpanzee genomes share 99% or more identical DNA. In a surprising development about to be published in Nature, the Y-chromosomes of these two species were found to share only 70% of their DNA, raising important questions about the mode and tempo by which speciation from a common ancestor occurred. This finding may point the finger at the evolution of different patterns of sperm-competition and mating practices within these two species.
posted by Rumple on Jan 16, 2010 - 21 comments

(glowing) prairie voles illuminate the human condition

Monogamouse
Prairie voles have many vasopressin receptors in the reward centres of their brains. It seems as though these are wired up in a way that causes the animal to take pleasure from monogamy. (previously 1|2)
posted by kliuless on Jan 9, 2010 - 20 comments

Learn.Genetics

grumblebee's post about cell size and scale the other day was quite fascinating. Pulling back to the home for that site, the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah delivers educational materials on genetics, bio-science and health topics ranging from stem cells to gene therapy, and from epigenetics to heredity. Explore the neurobiology of normal and addicted brains and the genetic contribution to this chronic disease.
posted by netbros on Oct 31, 2009 - 4 comments

The Third Replicator

Evolution's third replicator: Genes, memes, and now what?
posted by homunculus on Jul 31, 2009 - 68 comments

The Beauty Race

Researchers have found that beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.
posted by monospace on Jul 28, 2009 - 111 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

Darwin, extended

The "blind watchmaker" may not be as blind as we thought. A team of scientists at Princeton University discovers that organisms are not only evolving, they're evolving to evolve better, using a set of proteins to "steer the process of evolution toward improved fitness" by making tiny course corrections.
posted by digaman on Nov 11, 2008 - 66 comments

A New Theory Of Mental Disorders

"Their idea is, in broad outline, straightforward. Dr. Crespi and Dr. Badcock propose that an evolutionary tug of war between genes from the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg can, in effect, tip brain development in one of two ways. A strong bias toward the father pushes a developing brain along the autistic spectrum, toward a fascination with objects, patterns, mechanical systems, at the expense of social development. A bias toward the mother moves the growing brain along what the researchers call the psychotic spectrum, toward hypersensitivity to mood, their own and others’. This, according to the theory, increases a child’s risk of developing schizophrenia later on, as well as mood problems like bipolar disorder and depression."
posted by grumblebee on Nov 11, 2008 - 43 comments

Personal Genome Project

Volunteers from the general public working together with researchers to advance personal genomics. 10 volunteers, among them noted author and cognitive psychologist Stephen Pinker, have open sourced (so to speak) their genetic information. [more inside]
posted by thatbrunette on Oct 20, 2008 - 13 comments

My vasopressin made me do it

Monogamy gene in humans It was previously found in voles, as discussed here, now they found a correlation in humans.
posted by dov3 on Sep 2, 2008 - 31 comments

Lateral gene transfer and the history of life

Festooning The Tree Of Life. Carl Zimmer describes new research on lateral gene transfer which makes the Tree of Life look more like a Gordian Knot.
posted by homunculus on Jul 20, 2008 - 15 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

How to Sequence a Genome

How to Sequence a Genome [Flash. H/T to Jay]. Visualization of the process of genetic sequencing. Posted on the Nova website in conjunction with their show, Cracking the Code of Life, hosted by Robert Krulwich [Wiki].
posted by McLir on Aug 23, 2007 - 14 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

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

A nice counterpoint to Dobson's shit

What Makes People Gay? --long, informative article from Boston Globe on recent scientific developments regarding nature or nurture. Studies on twins, brothers, CGN, the "big brother" effect, fetal development, genetics, hormones, etc. and don't miss the Evangelical Preacher who converted to the belief that homosexuality is not a choice but rather a predisposition, something "deeply rooted" in people.
posted by amberglow on Aug 15, 2005 - 151 comments

Deafness In White Cats

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

Who were your first ancestors

Who were your first ancestors? Tracking ancient ancestors and the migration of ancient peoples through DNA. Progressive maps from 200,000 years to 10,0000 years ago show the movement of our "tribes" since Adam.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 13, 2005 - 39 comments

Ah, science.

New research takes steps towards finding the "gay genes." A study conducted on gay brothers in more than 100 families found several genetic regions of similarity with linkage to sexual orientation. This is kind of dense (scroll to the bottom of the page for the FAQ), but that's because it hasn't been written up in the press so there are only journal doc's and scientific summaries available.
This is the press release, which is clearer (Microsoft Word).
This is the article on the study, as published in the journal Human Genetics (PDF).
posted by joe_murphy on Jan 20, 2005 - 107 comments

Cock-a-doodle-doo. What, what?

20,000 genes and splices: the Colonel's Secret Recipe revealed! Even the fanciest chickens won't be able to ignore their genetic cousins now.
posted by naomi on Dec 12, 2004 - 32 comments

Taming of the Shrew

Extinct is forever. Or is it? Scientists are hard at work reconstructing entire genomes of our common ancestors. The present technology is a far cry from Jurassic Park, but we're getting there.
posted by mowglisambo on Dec 8, 2004 - 9 comments

The Dawkins FAQ.

The Dawkins FAQ. Interesting Q&A session about evolution, biology, genes, etc with an expert. Dawkins claims no final answer on the "gay gene" or a Darwinian explanation of homosexuality.
posted by skallas on Nov 27, 2004 - 56 comments

Science

In terms of our genes, we humans are all the same -- except for the ways in which we're different. Pharmacogenomics has for years been touted as the ultimate benefit of the genomics revolution. But to many, this revolution has a troubling side.
posted by semmi on Oct 13, 2004 - 6 comments

What's your genetic fitness, eh?

Breeders are winning. "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts." (WaPo link, bugmenot says try fedup@mailinator.com and fedup if you don't care to register. Definition of genetic fitness here.)
posted by jfuller on Sep 6, 2004 - 77 comments

Challenging Darwin: Is sex really all about the genes?

Author challenges Darwin's theory of "sexual selection." To Darwin, mutations that don't enhance survival, like peacocks' tails, must be aids to attracting mates to pass on genes. Homosexuality, therefore, is to Darwin and the Christian-right both an unnatural aberration. But with ever growing evidence of homsexual behavior in animals, from bonobos to penguins, isn't it time that Darwin's theory get replaced?
posted by dnash on Apr 15, 2004 - 55 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

Patent bending

The New Yorker's James Surowiecki writes about patent creep. With eBay losing one court case and being threatened by another, Spike Lee trying to stop his first name being used, Amazon owning the concept of threaded discussions, the never-ending Un*x wars, and bands trying to protect certain chord progressions (OK that one's a hoax), is this a worrying pattern that needs to be reversed, and is it just the beginning of an anti-competitive trend that will see our own genes being patented?
posted by cbrody on Jul 17, 2003 - 10 comments

They grin at me from the trees

First Birds with teeth in 70 million years. Vicious toothed, flying microraptors once darkened the Jurassic skies. Now, scientists have learned to activate the dormant, vestigal avian "tooth gene" and so coaxed chicken embryos into growing teeth. From the grave, Alfred Hitchcock enviously quips - "a messy thing indeed when toothed birds kill a man". Meanwhile the French are appalled: “quand les poules auront des dents”, which translates to “when hens have teeth”, is analogous to the English “pigs might fly”. Coming soon: flying pigs. But there might be a baldness cure in this new research. I'll remember that as the flocks of mutant raptor-fowl move in for the kill.
posted by troutfishing on Jun 4, 2003 - 18 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

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

Scientists ruin mouse's day.

Scientists ruin mouse's day. Or maybe, "discover the end of all ends"? or something. This story is begging for clever headlines, and I cannot think of any. Too embarassing. But still, the possibilities raised by this study are endless. Oh, there you go, another pun...
posted by costas on Aug 30, 2002 - 11 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

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