Articles on Genetics

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The relationship between the coronavirus and human genetics is murky. fatido/E+ via Getty Images

Your genes could determine whether the coronavirus puts you in the hospital – and we’re starting to unravel which ones matter

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University found that variations in genes that code for parts of the cellular alarm system might play a role in how well people fight off COVID-19.
There are many ways to make a vaccine. In a time of crisis, the more paths towards success the better. Adriana Duduleanu / EyeEm via Getty Images

Labs are experimenting with new – but unproven – methods to create a coronavirus vaccine fast

Under pressure to develop a coronavirus vaccine, researchers have turned to protein synthesis, genetics and hybrid viruses. It is likely a mix of these approaches will be used to fight the coronavirus.
Through public genome sequences, a team in Berlin perfected a molecular diagnostic protocol to detect the 2019-nCoV more than a week before the first case was confirmed in Germany. Shutterstock

Open science promotes global scientific collaboration to tackle coronavirus: why hasn’t Indonesia contributed?

Frontier research initiatives to tackle the 2019 coronavirus seem to be dominated by institutions in China, the US, Japan and labs across Europe. Very little seem to be coming form Indonesia.
Tomatoes’ ancestors looked very different. Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

Modern tomatoes are very different from their wild ancestors – and we found missing links in their evolution

Through genetic detective work, scientists have identified missing links in the tomato’s evolution from a wild blueberry-sized fruit in South America to the larger modern tomato of today.
Australians can now have their say on the issues around mitochondrial donation. From shutterstock.com

3-parent IVF could prevent illness in many children (but it’s really more like 2.002-parent IVF)

Should Australia allow the creation of babies with DNA from more than two people? This reproductive technology could prevent babies being born with mitochondrial disease, so the simple answer is yes.
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
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.
Miners working at Bersham Colliery near Wrexham in Wales, 1960. The National Archives UK/Flickr

Inequality now extends to people’s DNA

People who moved away from Britain's coal-mining areas have genetic profiles linked to higher educational attainment and better health than those who stayed.

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