Articles on Biology

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The talamanca hummingbird, or admirable hummingbird, is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock.com

Not all genes are necessary for survival – these species dropped extra genetic baggage

How many genes do you really need? Are there any that we can lose? Researchers are now identifying species that have streamlined their genome to adapt to a particular lifestyle.
Landscape in the Var area of France with fossilised Permian pelites (Permian Middle, 270 Ma) and “muddle cracks”.

An exoplanet within arm’s reach: the Earth

The geological and biological archives of the Earth shed light on both the distant past of our planet and allow us to imagine its future.
Under the proposed changes, TGD people in Victoria can change the gender on their birth certificate without having to undergo medical intervention. Shutterstock

Victorian changes to gender on birth certificate will not increase sexual violence. Here’s why

Proposed reforms in Victoria will not only remove barriers for many TGD people to navigate their daily lives more safely, but help to make gender categories in general less strictly defined.
A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

Genetic testing companies are offering tests that analyze the ends of your chromosomes – telomeres – to gauge your health and your real age. But is there scientific evidence to support such tests?
Decoding all the DNA in a patient’s biological sample can reveal whether an infectious microbe is causing the disease. ktsdesign/Shutterstock.com

Rapid DNA analysis helps diagnose mystery diseases

Superfast DNA analysis is now being used to crack medical mysteries when physicians can't figure out whether an infectious microbe is causing the disease.
When it comes to reproduction, couple have more choices than ever before. Chinnapong/Shutterstock.com

What the ban on gene-edited babies means for family planning

A ban on clinical trials involving gene editing rules out the controversial procedure done in China. But it also prevents procedures that could offer couples a chance for healthy children without genetic disorders.
Leeches suck blood because it is a very good food for them. Some leeches only need to feed once a year. Pixabay

Curious Kids: why do leeches suck our blood?

The short answer is that leeches need blood to grow and reproduce. But it's in their interests to do it carefully, without causing too much pain, and in spots that are hard to find.
Spider glue is actually a specialized silk protein. Sarah Stellwagen

Spider glue’s sticky secret revealed by new genetic research

The glue that gives spider webs their stickiness is a form of spider silk protein. Researchers can imagine cool uses for a synthetic version – but had to wait for the tricky glue gene to be sequenced.

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