Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.
An international team of scholars has just unveiled plans to science the shit out of Leonardo da Vinci, the man who gave us the Mona Lisa and envisioned futuristic technologies like helicopters and tanks 500 years ago. Goals of the fledgling “Leonardo Project” include recovering the famous Renaissance figure’s remains…
Water bears, known to scientists as tardigrades, are famously adorable microscopic creatures who can survive anything: freezing, total dehydration, radiation bombardment, and even the vacuum of deep space. Now scientists have sequenced a tardigrade genome, and are very surprised by the results.
By editing a single gene, researchers from South Korea and China have engineered pigs that produce about twice the amount of muscle as normal pigs. The goal is to produce leaner meat and at higher yields, but early results show it could be a long time before this jacked-up pork appears on your dinner plate.
The Y chromosome, a chunk of genetic code that is unique to male mammals, isn’t just physically smaller than the X. It also contains far fewer genes. The X has more than 1000 genes, while the Y has fewer than 200 —and most of them don’t even work. Why do men have this odd, stunted chromosome in their genomes?
CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?
A group of geneticists has called for a moratorium on research into modifying heritable human DNA — a practice that could lead to so-called "designer babies." But as scientists consider this drastic proposal, they should also recognize the potential benefits this technology could afford – and the risks of an outright…
Now that Britain has legalized three-parent IVF, it's time for other countries to follow suit. As noted by Tom Solomon in The Guardian, "It's mind-boggling that some people are against a medical advance that will prevent mitochondrial disease from occurring." Critics warn that it could lead to so-called "designer…
Scientists at Stanford University have found a way to program DNA in such a way that genes can be turned on or off in living cells. Incredibly, the new tool can affect two different genes at the same time, an advance that will allow scientists to treat even the most complex genetic disorders.
House cats often appear aloof and indifferent toward their human companions. But it's not just an act — they actually don't care. A recent study of the domestic cat genome reveals why.
Now that the coffee plant genome has been sequenced, it's only a matter of time until we're all brewing up genetically engineered, super-caffeinated coffee beans, right? Maybe. Here's what we know now about coffee that we never knew before.
The Felis catus genome has been fully sequenced and annotated, which means your pet kitty is about to give up its genetic secrets to science.
It's the ultimate baseline study — an effort to collect the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should look like.
Geneticists at Oxford University are making the astounding claim that a mere 8.2% of our DNA does something biologically important. That means upwards of 90% of the human genome is "junk" — a discovery that could dramatically hasten genetic research.
For over 20 years, the state of Indiana hoarded the blood of newborns without their parents' consent. If your child was born in Indiana after 1991, chances are his or her blood sample is one of an estimated 2.5-million specimens currently stored in a warehouse, the location of which state officials have not disclosed.
Carbon fiber is one of the strongest and most resilient materials on the market, used in everything from car frames to body armor. It's also incredibly expensive to make. But one plant biologist says that in fifty years, we'll be growing it on trees.
In Europe, there are two groups of crows who are almost identical — except for for thing. Carrion crows are all black, while hooded crows have patches of gray. Each group prefers to mate with their own color. It sounds like what humans would call racism, but instead it's a lesson in the limits of anthropomorphism.
A child delivered last week in California could well be the first healthy baby born in the United States "with his entire genetic makeup deciphered in advance," according to MIT Technology Review.
Genetically modified plants and animals are often feared as "Frankenfoods," but is there really anything dangerously new about manipulation of DNA? People have been creating extreme genetic mutants with plants and animals for tens of thousands of years.