A simple two-dimensional grid can convey a lot of information – whether making pictures with Lite-Brite or storing data in DNA.
DNA has been storing vast amounts of biological information for billions of years. Researchers are working to harness DNA for archiving data. A new method uses light to simplify the process.
We studied the genomes of African and Asian leopards using specimens from natural history museums.
Current view of the steppe mammoth, an ancestor to the woolly mammoth.
Beth Zaiken/Centre for Palaeogenetics
Our results have revolutionised the previously held view of the evolution of mammoths.
A photograph of a baboon mummy from the Lyon collection.
Number MHNL 90001206, © Département du Rhône, Patrick Ageneau
The DNA of microbes and food trapped in the teeth can reveal information about diet and health.
A bowhead whale breaches the surface of the cold waters near Point Barrow, Alaska.
Kate Stafford, University of Washington
New research is uncovering that whales have their own distinct microbiomes that may play important roles in animal health. But how do scientists study whale microbiomes?
Advances in DNA sequencing will help people to learn more about their ancestry.
Developments in mitochondrial DNA sequencing are returning South Africa’s slavery heritage to view.
Of more than 500 species of sharks in the world’s oceans, scientists have only sequenced a handful of genomes – most recently, white sharks.
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.
Illustration of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,
showing lymphoblasts in blood.
Seeing cancer in ‘high-resolution’ could improve personalised medicine.
The chances of your genetic data being recorded by the state depend on who you are.
Nanotechnology isn’t science fiction – you can find it in the latest TV screens, solar cells and tennis rackets.
Reading over the consent form.
You should be aware of the amount of genetic information you might disclose in a research study – and what the benefits and risks will be.
Some animals seem to have missing genes – but the reality is a lot more intriguing.
Massive online DNA databases can be used as a resource to discover viruses – even if the data had not been explicitly collected for that purpose.
What can a single person’s flu infection tell you about how the virus changes around the world?
Xue and Bloom
New genetic technologies are letting us look at flu evolution right where it starts: within individual people, while they’re sick.
An artist’s impression of an ancient, 100% African sea cow.
Sea cows (Sirenia) descended from four legged mammals that roamed Africa when this continent was isolated. They belong to the Afrotheria, the ‘African beasts’.
Genetic techniques can help make pollen useful for cracking criminal cases.
Karen L. Bell
Pollen is all around us, is extremely durable and can provide clues about where someone’s been. A new genetic technique will make it easier to use pollen evidence in criminal investigations.
Surface oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Genetic analysis shows that marine bacteria broke down much of the oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. These findings could lead to more effective cleanups after future spills.
Scientists today are inundated with data.
Big Data produces mountains of information, but it’s useless for science unless we’re asking the right questions.
It’s a lot for a person to puzzle out… call in the computers!
Modern biological research relies on big data analytics. Vast reservoirs of memory and powerful computing ability mean machines find patterns and make meta-analyses and even predictions for scientists.
Genetic techniques are helping scientists work out how to stop invasive species before they rack up huge environmental and financial costs.