By studying the genomes of more than 5,000 Samoans, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered a single gene that boosts a person’s obesity risk by upwards of 40 percent. Remarkably, this gene—which appears in a quarter of all Samoans—may have arisen in the population as they colonized the South…
Clinical trials of a promising new therapy, in which white blood cells are reprogrammed to attack cancer cells, has resulted in the deaths of three patients. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration has ordered a temporary halt to the trial.
What's happening in Siberia's thawing permafrost and Greenland's melting glaciers sounds borderline supernatural. Ancient viruses, bacteria, plants, and even animals have been cryogenically frozen there for millennia—and now, they are waking up.
We assume that all biological processes come to an end when we die, but new research shows that many genes remain active for up to four days following clinical death. These zombie genes can’t bring a person back to life, but this discovery has serious implications for forensics and organ donor recipients.
Using the CRISPR gene-editing tool, scientists from Harvard University have developed a technique that permanently records data into living cells. Incredibly, the information imprinted onto these microorganisms can be passed down to the next generation.
The precise origin of our canine companions is mired in controversy. But a new study suggests that dogs emerged from not one but two different populations of ancient wolves. What’s more, this dual domestication happened on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent.
Last month, a group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered in secret to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome from scratch. Details of the plan have finally been made public, and it’s as ambitious as it sounds. But critics say they founders of the new project are avoiding the tough…
For the first time ever, scientists have sequenced the genome of the world’s tallest land species, the giraffe. Surprisingly, this majestic creature required only a small handful of mutations to attain its remarkable physical stature and physiology—but these mutations packed an evolutionary punch.
Last year, a biotech startup called Clear Labs performed DNA testing on a bunch of hot dogs and discovered that they often contain more than the label advertises. The same company has now used its arsenal of molecular technologies to break down America’s other favorite meat-on-a-bun product: burgers. Once again, there…
In a lush conservation park in central Kenya, the world’s last three northern white rhinos are unable to breed. When they die, the subspecies will go extinct. That is unless a complex, controversial plan involving tissue cryobanks and test tube embryos can actually work.
Remember when we told you that the Venus flytrap can actually count? That’s how this carnivorous plant knows the difference between the presence of prey in its trap and a false alarm. Now the same team of German scientists is back with insight into how the Venus flytrap turned the evolutionary tables to become…
As a breed, labrador retrievers often have serious food-related issues—a behavioral quirk that often leads to over-eating and canine obesity. Researchers have finally figured out why, and the answer could influence the way we treat human obesity.
Over a century ago, scientists discarded a proposed theory that human limbs evolved from gills, given the lack of evidence in the fossil record. That theory is being revisited in light of new genetic results just published in the journal Development.
When Saturday Night Live aired a skit this weekend riffing on America’s new heroin epidemic—a satirical fake ad for “Heroin A.M.” to help addicts remain productive while using—many people weren’t laughing. That’s because heroin and other powerful opiates are killing more people than ever, across all demographics. So…
Researchers from Temple University have used the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool to clear out the entire HIV-1 genome from a patient’s infected immune cells. It’s a remarkable achievement that could have profound implications for the treatment of AIDS and other retroviruses.
It sounds ripped out of the pages of a science fiction novel—or maybe a Lisa Frank catalog—but the genetically modified, brilliantly colored zebra fish pictured above is no fantasy. It was created by scientists, to explore one of the most elusive processes in biology: tissue regeneration.
Researchers from the University of Oxford have rewritten positive memories associated with cocaine in mice. The achievement could expand our understanding of memory, while demonstrating that it’s possible to neurologically reverse ingrained bad behavior, such as drug addiction.
Zika is now a global emergency, and the latest in a long string of mosquito-borne viruses to afflict humanity. Mosquitoes truly suck, and the time has come to do something about them. Here’s how science will help—and why a war on mosquitoes doesn’t mean we have to wipe them off the face of the planet.
Schizophrenia is a complex disease with elusive origins, but the mystery became much clearer today, when a landmark new study based on genetic analysis of nearly 65,000 individuals pinpointed a specific gene and biological process behind it.
The most prominent sperm bank in the UK is under investigation after turning away donors with dyslexia and other questionable characteristics. This raises an important question: Should sperm banks be in the business of making “better” babies?