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Orphan Black is Back

Clones Are People Too: The Science and Science Fiction of BBC America’s Orphan Black. BBC America's science fiction series Orphan Black has returned for a second season, with Tatiana Maslany reprising her extraordinary performance playing half a dozen different clone characters. Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists have created cloned embryonic stem cells from the DNA of two adult humans. [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Apr 26, 2014 - 66 comments

The Pit of Bones

Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue (NYT) to Human Origins: The pit of bones hides our oldest DNA.
posted by homunculus on Dec 6, 2013 - 7 comments

Explain DNA to me like I’m a twelve-year-old

"Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model. Lots of love, Daddy." In 1953 Francis Crick, sat down to write his twelve-year-old son Michael a letter explaining his brand-new discovery: the double-helix structure of DNA. Now you can read the original, seven-page hand-written letter, complete with an interactive feature that lets you click for details, context and explanations. Courtesy of the Smithsonian. [more inside]
posted by evilmomlady on Sep 13, 2013 - 18 comments

DNA Lab Party at 4 PM: Staph only!

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's structure with a pictorial story behind DNA's double helix and the Rosalind Franklin papers, including correspondences and lab notes that detail some of her crystallography research, findings that laid the groundwork for Watson and Crick's later publication.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 25, 2013 - 6 comments

Secret Universe

The Hidden Life Of the Cell (57:24) There is a battle playing out inside your body right now. It started billions of years ago and it is still being fought in every one of us every minute of every day. It is the story of a viral infection - the battle for the cell. This film reveals the exquisite machinery of the human cell system from within the inner world of the cell itself - from the frenetic membrane surface that acts as a security system for everything passing in and out of the cell, the dynamic highways that transport cargo across the cell and the remarkable turbines that power the whole cellular world to the amazing nucleus housing DNA and the construction of thousands of different proteins all with unique tasks. The virus intends to commandeer this system to one selfish end: to make more viruses. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Exploring the very latest ideas about the evolution of life on earth and the bio-chemical processes at the heart of every one of us, and revealing a world smaller than it is possible to comprehend, in a story large enough to fill the biggest imaginations.
You may be familiar with molecular movies from my two previous megaposts collecting them, but this extended documentary uses original animation that is collected into a coherent educational narrative and is just so fucking gorgeous. Enjoy.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 24, 2013 - 20 comments

Soon, you too can become a flash drive.

Scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute successfully encoded several different file formats onto strands of synthetic DNA, which were then sent to an American lab and sequenced to extract the data. Selections included Shakespeare, audio of Dr. Martin Luther King, and photos of their lab. If the idea sounds vaguely familiar, you've probably been reading Dresden Codak.
posted by BZArcher on Jan 24, 2013 - 23 comments

Pictures of CATs

Scientists snap a picture of DNA’s double helix for the very first time
posted by cthuljew on Dec 1, 2012 - 33 comments

Hacking the President’s DNA

Hacking the President’s DNA. "The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace."
posted by homunculus on Oct 26, 2012 - 45 comments

"Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration, I've decided not to endorse your park."

"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs." [Discovery.com] Within five years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan's Kyodo News first reported the find. You can see photos of the thigh bone at this Kyodo page.
posted by Fizz on Dec 6, 2011 - 111 comments

Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space

NASA Proves Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space. "NASA researchers studying meteorites have found that they contain several of the components needed to make DNA on Earth. The discovery provides support for the idea that the building blocks for DNA were likely created in space, and carried to Earth on objects, like meteorites, that crashed into the planet’s surface. According to the theory, the ready-made DNA parts could have then assembled under Earth’s early conditions to create the first DNA."
posted by homunculus on Aug 9, 2011 - 44 comments

master of information

The New Biology - Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via)
posted by kliuless on Apr 9, 2011 - 35 comments

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it

Could the three established domains of life - eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea - be joined by a fourth?
posted by Artw on Mar 25, 2011 - 53 comments

Good News for Pregnant Needlephobes....

Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 8, 2010 - 30 comments

truth hangs by a hair

A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
posted by hat on Nov 12, 2010 - 99 comments

Queer Science

Less than two weeks after a controversial paper came to light advocating the pre-natal treatment of some female fetuses with a hormone to make their behavior more stereotypically female (previously discussed here) comes news of actual animal research on causing the opposite inclination. By knocking out the fucose mutarotase gene, scientists in South Korea have apparently created "Lesbian mice" who prefer other female mice and who resist the attempts of male mice to mate with them. Article abstract, and coverage by The Telegraph.
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 9, 2010 - 19 comments

Sequencing of the Neandertal genome completed

Neandertals are the closest ancestral relatives to modern humans. Today, Nature published a special report on the Neandertal genome, for which a draft sequencing of three billion nucleotides has been completed. This high-throughput sequencing project shows how the genetic relationship between Neandertals and modern Europeans and Asians suggests localized interbreeding between the two species roughly 40-80,000 years ago, complicating the common "out-of-Africa" story of how modern humans originated. Additional research extends this low-coverage, first-pass sequencing with a microarray approach that uncovers specific differences between the human and Neandertal genomes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 6, 2010 - 75 comments

Genetic material and informed consent

The Havasupai Tribe of Grand Canyon won a $700,000 settlement from Arizona State University, plus the return of remaining blood samples, regarding the use of members' blood and DNA for research. The Havasupai had originally contacted researchers at ASU concerning the Type II diabetes that has ravaged that tribe and others, particularly in the Southwest. [more inside]
posted by toodleydoodley on Apr 22, 2010 - 96 comments

"You Can't Patent Nature"

Followup to this post: A US District Court has ruled that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling in two posts. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2010 - 51 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

UK Asylum Seekers: Let The Right Ones In

The Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration control, has initiated a program to test the DNA from of potential asylum seekers in an attempt to confirm their true nationalities. The initial program is a six-month pilot limited to claimants arriving from the Horn of Africa. The program, currently using forensic samples provided on a voluntary basis, could potentially expand to other nationalities if successful. The Home Office spokeswoman said ancestral DNA testing would not be used alone but would be combined with language analysis, investigative interviewing techniques and other recognized forensic disciplines, but many are decrying the "deeply flawed" program, from refugee support groups to scientists in the genetic forensics fields (via). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 30, 2009 - 55 comments

DNA Not The Same In Every Cell Of Body

DNA Not The Same In Every Cell Of Body. "...calls into question one of the most basic assumptions of human genetics: that when it comes to DNA, every cell in the body is essentially identical to every other cell... if it turns out that blood and tissue cells do not match genetically, these ambitious and expensive genome-wide association studies may prove to have been essentially flawed from the outset"
posted by GuyZero on Jul 16, 2009 - 49 comments

G T C A

I can build DNA / I can be a big star (previously) (via the filter)
posted by shadytrees on Apr 16, 2009 - 5 comments

cluck cluck cluck BAWK! ROAR!!

When and if the dinochicken is created, Horner looks forward to bringing it out on a leash during lectures. (book)
posted by Pants! on Mar 15, 2009 - 24 comments

Jurrassic World

We get you real woolly mammoth, very cheap, good quality.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 20, 2008 - 44 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

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

It's not the economy, stupid.

"You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana. I don't know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue..." (previously) The infamous bear study bought up by McCain in the first debate is one of his favourite pork barrel examples, but little actual information is given about the study. Here is the website giving details about the project, with more info, a quick fact sheet and a podcast. This is one of the rare times when a candidate will air an opinion on science in a popular setting.... [more inside]
posted by scodger on Sep 29, 2008 - 129 comments

How reliable is DNA in identifying suspects?

A discovery leads to questions about whether the odds of people sharing genetic profiles are sometimes higher than portrayed. Calling the finding meaningless, the FBI has sought to block such inquiry.
posted by finite on Jul 20, 2008 - 30 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

Scientists say they’ve found a code beyond genetics in DNA

Scientists say they’ve found a code beyond genetics in DNA. The study by Segal et al. [PDF] establishes a model for predicting some (but not all) nucleosome placement. This is critical for understanding the regulation of gene expression.
posted by rxrfrx on Jul 25, 2006 - 31 comments

The origin of life?!

The origin of life?! I heard from an authority in molecular biology today that a group of researchers funded by the Carnegie Institution and NASA believe they've discovered the origin of RNA, and with that, the origin of life. This new discovery grew out of NASA's Deep Impact mission to study the composition of comets. Specifically, they started investigating a kind of carbon that forms in layers, with each layer slighly offset from the previous one in a helix shape. Significantly, the thickness of these carbon layers corresponds with the thickness of each twist in a strand of RNA. It turns out that the individual building blocks of RNA are capable of bonding to this layered carbon when exposed to UV radiation. Once this has happened, apparently formaldehyde can then bond to the building blocks of RNA on the carbon "pattern", allowing the bonded RNA to slough off into the primordial soup. Over time, some of these RNA strands could fold and bond to themselves, forming DNA. Formaldehyde, the initial bonding material, would eventually be replaced by a more chemically sophisticated substance, creating the chemical bond that we observe today in DNA. Expect a paper on it to be released in approximately three months with all the details.
posted by insomnia_lj on Nov 6, 2005 - 66 comments

Picture yourself in a boat on a river

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

Fun with DNA! (SFW mehtod)

How to extract DNA from any living thing. Don't just watch the show, create a CSI lab in your own kitchen!
posted by numlok on Feb 11, 2005 - 12 comments

If they can't even play with trucks correctly...

"In his talk... [Harvard President Larry] Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting. Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them 'daddy truck,' and one 'baby truck.'

"It was during his comments on ability that Hopkins, sitting only 10 feet from Summers, closed her computer, put on her coat, and walked out. 'It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way,' she said later in an interview." Summers then responded with the currently in vogue non-apology apology.
posted by occhiblu on Jan 18, 2005 - 182 comments

science

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
posted by semmi on Sep 20, 2004 - 18 comments

not so junk DNA

not so junk DNA the idea has always made me uncomfortable. now scientists are taking a closer look at base-pair sequences that have been generally overlooked till now.
posted by jessica on May 12, 2004 - 9 comments

FoodExpert-ID Chip

"A single test can now reveal the presence of meat from any of 32 different species in food samples, enabling a wide range of important questions to be answered. These include whether chicken has been bulked up with beef or pork extracts; whether expensive albacore tuna is really cheap skipjack tuna; whether rats, mice or even bits of people fell into the mincer when your burger was being made..."
posted by taragl on Mar 4, 2004 - 15 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

Its only a mollusk. Really.

A Cautionary Tale: DNA Analysis of Alleged Extraterrestrial Biological Material: Anatomy of a Molecular Forensic Investigation .pdf file
::From The National Institute for Discovery Science via The Daily Grail::
[more inside]
posted by anastasiav on Sep 24, 2003 - 7 comments

CATGee.com

the world's first personal DNA storage & sampling kit ~ Save, share, and celebrate your DNA. ”Your very being, saved on a swab, for all eternity”
posted by crunchland on Sep 1, 2003 - 9 comments

so what's in that 0.1%?

DNA used to ascertain race of unidentified serial killer. Florida company DNAPrint Genomics claims their test can identify the race (ie, African, Caucasian, East Asian or American Indian) of a person from their DNA. CEO Tony Frudakis says that "of over 2,200 blind samples tested, the test is yet to get one wrong."
posted by shoos on Jun 5, 2003 - 12 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

Messages in a DNA bottle

Data can be encoded and retrieved from DNA --even after multiple generations. Any bets on what the first message ever decoded from human DNA will read? My money's on "Hello World".
posted by costas on Jan 8, 2003 - 53 comments

So, Mr. Stephenson, what's next?

The Diamond Age begins. Research scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have bound DNA to circuits using a thin film of diamond as a bridge. Pathogens detected by the DNA, trigger it to send an electrical signal via the diamond medium to the circuit. [MORE]
posted by yonderboy on Dec 14, 2002 - 7 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

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

Alzheimer's gene screened out from newborn.

Alzheimer's gene screened out from newborn. Doctors successfully made sure that the mother's Alzheimer's gene wasn't inherited by her baby. This is big news for prospective parents with hereditary diseases.
posted by costas on Feb 27, 2002 - 16 comments

Genome liberation.

Genome liberation. "Life science researchers -- even those who work in academic settings -- are finding that corporations are just as eager to patent the tools as they are the data, and in many cases, universities are bending over backward to let the private sector have its way. As a result, a growing number of bioinformatics researchers are beginning to look to the free-software and open-source software movements for inspiration in their quest for bio freedom."
posted by homunculus on Feb 26, 2002 - 2 comments

Could this actually be proof of the legendary Yeti?

Could this actually be proof of the legendary Yeti? Scientists may have a sample of Yeti DNA. Clone this, and a wooly mammoth and you'd have one Hell of a sideshow...
posted by Spanktacular on Apr 15, 2001 - 10 comments

DNA analysis of a 60,000-year-old skeleton from Lake Mungo in Australia throws doubt on the "Out of Africa" theory of human evolution.

DNA analysis of a 60,000-year-old skeleton from Lake Mungo in Australia throws doubt on the "Out of Africa" theory of human evolution.
posted by lagado on Jan 11, 2001 - 7 comments

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