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The discovery of the genes that influence the beak shape in the famous Galapagos finches highlight the underlying unity of all life. Paul Krawczuk/Flickr

Darwin’s finches highlight the unity of all life

Darwin's finches are known to be a paragon of evolution by natural selection, but a recent genetic discovery relating to their beaks highlights the evolutionary connectedness of all life.
Map depicting the two major hypotheses of the spread of Indo-European languages (white arrows) and geographic distribution of the archaeological cultures described in the text. Wolfgang Haak

European invasion: DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?
The Human Genome Project was just the beginning. The Epigenome Roadmap is now telling us how all these genes switch on and off in different parts of the body, and how they go wrong with disease. Tom Purcell/Flickr

Beyond genetics: illuminating the epigenome

There's still a lot we don't know about how various genes are switched on and off. But a new project is seeking to shed light on the complex world of epigenetics.
Evolution isn’t necessarily progressive. Possan/Flickr

What blind beetles can teach us about evolution

Evolution is often perceived as being a “directional” or “adaptive” process. We often think of species evolving to become stronger or faster, or to have sharper teeth, for example. And we tend to see this…
The actions of cells underpin new thinking about pancreatic cancer, which took the life of Apple’s Steve Jobs. James Mitchell

How deadly cancer may actually be spread by survival mechanism

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. With a ten-year survival rate of just 1%, it has the poorest prognosis of all solid tumours. The main reason for this is that tumours of the pancreas largely…
Mum’s gone to Iceland. Creatista/Shutterstock

Viking women travelled too, genetic study reveals

The traditional picture of Vikings is one of boatloads of hairy men pillaging their way along the coasts of Europe. Though true to some degree, this stereotype has more recently been tempered with the…
How has domestication changed the humble house cat? Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Pretty kitties: feline ‘friendly’ genes mapped in study

House cats are a great source of companionship for many people – 3 million cats are kept as pets in Australia. Now thanks…
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…
Prize winners together – Ingrid Scheffer and Samuel Berkovic. WildBear

The genetics of epilepsy: bringing hope to families

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – awarded at Parliament House in Canberra tonight – recognise excellence in science and science teaching. This year, we asked four prizewinners to reflect on their…
Research into gene regulation can treat illness, grow food and understand the brain. WildBear

Epigenetic code cracker: why skin cells are skin cells and not neurons

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – awarded at Parliament House in Canberra tonight – recognise excellence in science and science teaching. This year, we asked four prizewinners to reflect on their…

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