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The Ripper case is important, and not only because of the women who suffered dreadful deaths. Dalibor Levíček

Still a mystery: DNA hasn’t named Jack the Ripper after all

The Jack the Ripper murders are the most potent cold case ever. More than a century on from the first killing in 1888 they are still attracting global attention. Academics of many disciplines publish on…
Icy times for mom-to-be meant bad news for baby-on-board. Shaun Best/Reuters

Mom’s prenatal hardship turns baby’s genes on and off

In January 1998 five days of freezing rain collapsed the electrical grid of the Canadian province of Québec. The storm left more than 3 million people without electricity for anywhere from a few hours…
Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie is willing to take a DNA test to prove her Indigenous heritage – but would that do any good? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Explainer: can a DNA test reveal if you’re an Indigenous Australian?

Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie recently created controversy by claiming in her first speech to Parliament that going back six generations, she is related to the renowned Tasmanian Aboriginal…

Minor DNA changes determine hair colour

Hair colour in humans is largely determined by a molecule critical to stem cell function and development, according to a…
What parents eat before conceiving a child affects their baby’s DNA expression. hndrk/Flickr

How your parents' diet before your birth impacts your health

Chromosomes and genes contain the blueprint for your physical characteristics. But your parents' health and diet before you were conceived can also affect how your genes are expressed – and impact your…
Imagine your DNA as strands of fairy lights – and if a globe blew, you could remove it and pop in another. kyz/Flickr

Explainer: what is genomic editing?

Mistakes in the paper version of the Encyclopædia Britannica took a long time to correct – years often passed between revised editions – but these days editing information is much easier. In electronic…
Hydrogen peroxide – widely used in hair bleach – may also hold the key to life on early Earth. Brandon Milner Photography/Flickr

Can bleach help solve the origin of life in the primordial soup?

A chemical found in hair bleach may help answer questions about the origins of life and explain why new life does not emerge on modern Earth. Hydrogen peroxide may have helped transform RNA (ribonucleic…
Wild chickens are everywhere in Hawaii but how did they get there? Flickr/jaybergesen

Chickens tell tale of human migration across Pacific

Holiday in Hawaii and one of the birds you’re most likely to encounter is the chicken. You find them everywhere from beaches, to car parks and on walks through the bushland. The locals warn that your chance…
Too much information could be a recipe for disaster. Abode of Chaos

The next pandemic could be downloaded from the internet

Last October, scientists in California sequenced the DNA for the “type H” botulinum toxin. One gram of this toxin would be sufficient to kill half a billion people, making it the deadliest substance yet…
The reason few errors are discovered is that it’s so hard to identify them. Image from shutterstock.com

Truth or lies: overturning wrongful convictions

A person is wrongly convicted of a serious crime, then fresh evidence reveals they are, in fact, innocent. It’s a thriller movie formula and you’d hope that if this were to happen, justice would prevail…

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