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Articles on Mutations

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Mink can be readily infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then pass the virus to humans. (Shutterstock)

The mink link: How COVID-19 mutations in animals affect human health and vaccine effectiveness

In the disturbing scenario of human-to-mink-to-human COVID-19 transmission, the virus may mutate in mink prior to re-infecting people. That possibility makes vaccine design even more crucial.
Watching bacteria and viruses duke it out, evolving to outwit each other. UC San Diego

Discovery of a surprise multitasking gene helps explain how new functions and features evolve

A core idea in molecular biology is that one gene codes for one protein. Now biologists have found an example of a gene that yields two forms of a protein – enabling it to evolve new functionality.
As genes are favored or phased out, human evolution continues. ktsdesign/Shutterstock.com

Evolutionary geneticists spot natural selection happening now in people

Comparing genomes of more than 200,000 people, researchers identified genetic variants that are less common in older people, suggesting natural selection continues to weed out disadvantageous traits.
A young breast-cancer patient in her home. Fototip/Shutterstock

Is cancer just a question of ‘bad luck’?

Two US researchers have traced the majority of cancers to DNA replication errors during our natural cell replacement. Their finding asks for a renewed inquiry into the role of "chance" in cancer.
Laboratory mice are among the first animals to have their diseases treated by CRISPR. tiburi via Pixabay.com

CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique

A new research paper reports dangerous side effects in CRISPR-edited mice. Some scientists are pushing back, placing blame for the unwanted mutations on the experiment, not the technique.
Deficiencies in a critical nutrient can lead to an abnormally wired brain. Illustration of a network of nerve cells in the. brain. Benedict Campbell, Wellcome Images/Flickr

New autism research: a nutrient called carnitine might counteract gene mutations linked with ASD risks

A gene mutation that causes problems for neural stem cells – the building blocks of the brain – could be corrected by adding carnitine.
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?

Gene may trigger prostate cancer

A mutated gene could be responsible for triggering prostate cancer, new research has found. The relevant gene, p53, encodes…

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