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Microbes can act as canaries in the coalmine for ocean pollutants such as sewage. Ne0Freedom/Wikimedia Commons

Microbes: the tiny sentinels that can help us diagnose sick oceans

There are more bacteria in the ocean than stars in the known universe. New genetic techniques are letting us use microbes as early warning systems for oceans in trouble from pollution and other stresses.
Tick tock, tick tock… You can’t hide from the molecular clock.

Explainer: what is the molecular clock?

The molecular clock is helping us deepen our knowledge of evolution and completing the tree of life. But how does it actually work?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Gene breakthrough brings glaucoma drugs a step closer

Scientists have discovered that the high pressure in the eye that occurs with most common forms of glaucoma can trigger two genes that work together to cause vision loss, which may help pave the way for new glaucoma drugs.
It’s naive to pretend there are no profound genetic and epigenetic differences between the sexes. Elephant Gun Studios/Flickr

Differences between men and women are more than the sum of their genes

What produces the differences between men and women? Are they trivial or profound? Are they genetic or environmental, or both? And are men really closer genetically to chimpanzees than to women?
Now that we know there’s a gene for intelligence, are we going to start breeding little Einsteins? from

The ethics of ‘gifted’ genes: the road to Gattaca?

Recent research out of the UK has identified a genetic “general academic achievement factor”. Does this pave the way for genetically testing babies for intelligence?
Family resemblance isn’t only down to genes, but also to the influence of the environment on those genes. Mitchell Joyce/Flickr

Epigenetics: phenomenon or quackery?

Epigenetics is increasingly used as a buzzword to sell pseudoscientific products, but the truth of epigenetics is even more interesting – and complex – than the quacks claim.

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