Articles on Genetics

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Genetic change in humans is driven by cultural change, for example, blue eyes. Corey Butler

Determined to be different: what we do changes the wiring of our genes

The human genome provides penetrating and unexpected insights into human individual and collective history. Among them is the counterintuitive idea that genes are at the mercy of experience – that what…
Heart attacks damage important muscles but now scientists think that a special protein can awaken the stem cells that grow new muscles. Flickr

Fixing a broken heart with stem cells

Vital heart muscles damaged during cardio arrest can be replaced by stem cells within the organ with the help of a special protein, scientists have discovered. Heart attacks cause dangerous damage to muscle…
Dialysis is one of the only currently available treatments for kidney disease. AAP

Why stem cells have a stake in kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant and growing global public health problem. But the creation of a new type of stem cell offers new hope for therapies and drugs for this worldwide problem. In…

Stem cell treatment for bone fractures

Stem cell therapy enriched with a bone-regenerating hormone, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), can help mend broken bones…
Inherited only from mothers, the mitochondria may harbour male-harming mutations. ddc c z/flickr

Could ‘mother’s curse’ cause male infertility?

As many as a one in 20 men is infertile, but in many cases the underlying cause for it remains unknown. Recent research has found that a peculiarity in the way in which the DNA inside our mitochondria…
Mapping genetic diseases will reduce the unknown risks in family planning. flickr/Mrs Flinger

The benefits of mapping genetic disease in the Human Variome Project

Thanks to the genetic revolution and the internet, we can now see a way to map genetic diseases and reduce the burden of inherited conditions. Each year more than 3 million children born with a serious…
The Bill seeks to close the loophole opened by the US Patent Office 30 years ago. AAP

Who owns the rights to the human body? It’s patently obvious

Read the argument against the proposed legislation Patents are only to be for granted inventions - that’s the intent of the Patents Act 1990, it has been the law for nearly 400 years, and it’s also what…
Does homosexuality have something to offer everyone? marlin harm/Flickr

Best of mates: why ‘gay genes’ are a good fit for Darwin

Sexual orientation has long been cause for discussion and controversy, but just where does our sexual orientation come from? Are people “born gay” or are environmental causes at play? Historically, many…
Francis Crick (right) and James Watson (far left) started a revolution in medicine. AAP

Genomics was great but it’s time for a new medical revolution

Medical science has changed the human health and lifespan in the last century and now another revolution is coming in health. This revolution will entail closing the chasm between what medical evidence…
Try as you might, there’s no proof you can control your genetic expression. mutsmuts/Flickr

Think you can think yourself better? Think again

Can the way we think influence the way we feel? Most of us would say yes. But can thinking affect the way our bodies behave on a genetic level? Can we, in essence, think ourselves better? A growing band…
Your grandparents’ lifespan can offer some valuable clues. joeduty/Flickr

Who wants to live forever?

It’s well known that humans are living longer than ever before, thanks partially to developments such as sanitation and modern medicine. But will it ever be possible for humans to live forever? The late…
A vocal minority opposes stem cell research on moral grounds. Elizabeth Ng

Striking the balance in laws for stem cell research

The two pieces of Commonwealth legislation strictly regulate research use of human embryos in Australia are currently being reviewed. The Australian public is overwhelmingly in favour of stem cell research…
Analysing the genome has revealed a great deal about common diseases. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Genome sceptics, you’re wrong: just look at MS

A few days ago, Jonathan Latham of The Guardian newspaper decried the failure of modern genetics to make inroads on common diseases. I think he got things very wrong. Latham claimed that: Despite more…

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