Articles on Genomics

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Tomatoes’ ancestors looked very different. Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Modern tomatoes are very different from their wild ancestors – and we found missing links in their evolution

Through genetic detective work, scientists have identified missing links in the tomato’s evolution from a wild blueberry-sized fruit in South America to the larger modern tomato of today.
No, a DNA swab can’t tell you if you’re gay, or likely to be obese, or depressed. And it can be damaging to believe so. Shutterstock

‘Gay gene’ testing apps aren’t just misleading – they’re dangerous

Genetic apps claim to reveal fundamental insights about your health, well-being, and even intellect. But it's not just spurious science - believing these traits are genetic can have harmful consequences.
Are space twin Scott and Earth twin Mark no longer identical? Robert Markowitz/NASA

Does a year in space make you older or younger?

Before sending humans to Mars or the moon, scientists need to understand what long-term space living does to the human body. Now results are coming in from the Kelly brothers in the TWINS Study,
Of more than 500 species of sharks in the world’s oceans, scientists have only sequenced a handful of genomes – most recently, white sharks. Terry Goss/Wikimedia

Sequencing the white shark genome is cool, but for bigger insights we need libraries of genetic data

Why do scientists spend so much time and money mapping the DNA of species like white sharks? Single studies may offer insights, but the real payoff comes in comparing many species to each other.
The issues surrounding the use of genetic data are complex. image created by James Hereward and Caitlin Curtis

Dramatic advances in forensics expose the need for genetic data legislation

Police have powerful new genetic tools. How are we going to regulate their use? A Genetic Data Protection Act is one solution to ensure confidence in the way DNA is accessed and used.
Eighty years ago, Seabiscuit trounced Triple Crown winner War Admiral. AP Photo

Can Seabiscuit’s DNA explain his elite racing ability?

The US went crazy for Seabiscuit when he won his famous 1938 match race against War Admiral. Now researchers are investigating the thoroughbred's DNA to see what made him such an unlikely success.
Marius Wernig, Thomas C. Südhof and their colleagues created these “Induced neuronal (iN) cells” from adult human blood cells. Marius Wernig

Neurons made from blood cells – a new tool for understanding brain diseases

Figuring out what causes diseases like autism, schizophrenia and depression is tricky. Now Stanford University researchers are turning blood into brain cells to study these diseases in a dish.
What secrets will your DNA give away? Connect world/shutterstock.com

Your genome may have already been hacked

When you send off a cheek swab to one of the private genome companies, you may sacrifice not just your own privacy but that of your family and your ancestors.
More knowledge about your genetic makeup enables you to make better-informed choices – but at what cost? Shutterstock

Not all genetic tests should be publicly funded – here’s why

It's exciting to think we're on the brink of a genomic revolution in health care. But just because new technology becomes available, it doesn't mean it should automatically be publicly funded.

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