The Science of Sustainability

Tag: genetics

Bay Area Biotech Industry Braces for Gene Patenting Court Case

Bay Area Biotech Industry Braces for Gene Patenting Court Case

The Supreme Court is hearing a case on a key question: can you patent a human gene?

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Turkey Trouble: Genetics Gone Too Far?

Turkey Trouble: Genetics Gone Too Far?

No, this isn’t a blog about genetically modified organisms — that has been argued enough lately! Instead, in honor of Thanksgiving, I want to talk about regular old selective breeding and the monsters it can create.

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Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

Genome 3.0: ENCODE Takes Our DNA From Junk to Treasure

New research is making us rethink how our DNA works – again.

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The Results Are In For My Genetics Quiz

The Results Are In For My Genetics Quiz

In my last blog entry, I wrote a quiz that tested some basic knowledge about genetics that experts have found the public struggles with. What I found from the responses I received is that the QUEST public doesn’t struggle with them or, more likely, people only answer quizzes like this if they are pretty confident […]

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The Heat is On For California Wines

The Heat is On For California Wines

You’ve probably heard of the wines that made Napa and Sonoma famous, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. But what about Negroamaro or Nero d’Avola? They’re wine grapes that are well-adapted to hotter temperatures — the kind of conditions that California may be facing as the climate continues to warm.

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Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution

Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution

As a nation, we aren’t teaching the right genetics in our schools. And for those of us out of school, the situation is, if anything, even worse. By and large we lack the fundamental knowledge needed to properly interpret the avalanche of data headed our way.

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Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Many tomatoes have been bred to travel well and look appealing, but now researchers are focusing on making them more nutritious and better tasting.

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Pregnant Women Face Big Questions With Cheaper DNA Sequencing

Pregnant Women Face Big Questions With Cheaper DNA Sequencing

In the very near future, a pregnant woman will be able to learn a whole lot more than she currently can about the fetus she is carrying. And she can find out in a way that poses no risk to the fetus.

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Tackling the Cause of Cystic Fibrosis One Mutation at a Time

Tackling the Cause of Cystic Fibrosis One Mutation at a Time

There was big news in the cystic fibrosis (CF) field recently: a new CF drug called ivacaftor (or VX-770 or Kalydeco) has been approved that does more than target the symptoms of CF. It actually works to get the broken gene working again. The good news is that this is the first treatment that has […]

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Why Your Newfound Uniqueness is a Nightmare for Your Doctor

Why Your Newfound Uniqueness is a Nightmare for Your Doctor

A couple of new studies confirm what many of us have feared: each of us is surprisingly unique genetically. This is to be feared because of the impact it will have on the future of personalized medicine.

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Personalized Medicine: A Potential Tool for Predicting Disease?

Personalized Medicine: A Potential Tool for Predicting Disease?

We may finally be at the threshold of the age of personalized medicine. In a recent study, scientists were able to predict that a man was at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and over a two-year period tracked his health as he developed the disease.

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Desperately Seeking Autism Genes

Desperately Seeking Autism Genes

Autism is incredibly frustrating from a genetic point of view. Every study clearly shows that genetics plays an important role in this disease. But when these studies try to find a cause, they keep coming up short.

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Divining Human History with DNA

Divining Human History with DNA

Everyone knows about how genetics is changing how we look at and treat human disease. But what may be less appreciated is what it can tell us about human history.

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Why Don't We Get Cancer More Often?

Why Don't We Get Cancer More Often?

Dr. Mina Bissell of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is one of the world’s leading researchers on breast cancer. Her group recently found that normal breast cells provide an innate defense mechanism against cancer by secreting a protein to actively and specifically kill breast cancer cells without harming normal ones.

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Geneticists Solve Van Gogh's Mutant Sunflowers After 125 Years

Geneticists Solve Van Gogh's Mutant Sunflowers After 125 Years

Most admirers of Vincent van Gogh's iconic "Sunflower" paintings gaze upon the golden inflorescences without any awareness of the scientific conundrum they pose. But researchers from the University of Georgia have finally cracked the case with a paper published in PLoS Genetics.

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Evolution, Easy as Can Be

Evolution, Easy as Can Be

Evolving from something simple like a single celled beast into a slug, mushroom, cactus or a human seems impossibly hard. The series of precise DNA changes you need is mind-boggling to think about. Unless, of course, the changes are easier than we imagine.

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The Benefits of Radioactive Fallout

The Benefits of Radioactive Fallout

Wildlife seems to be thriving in the radioactive areas around Chernobyl. For now it looks like if animals had to choose, they'd choose radioactivity over humans.

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We Don’t Want the Funk (in our Wine)

We Don’t Want the Funk (in our Wine)

Scientists are using DNA sequencing to protect our wines by keeping future sulfite-resistant forms of the yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis at bay.

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Gaming to Understand Disease

Gaming to Understand Disease

By playing Phylo, you help scientists better understand human disease and you get to have fun. Doing good by having fun is a win-win for scientists and the public.

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Living Longer

Living Longer

Using a genetic trick, scientists were able to increase the lifespan of a worm by changing how it used its genes. This extended lifespan was passed on to its kids and grand kids but not to its great grand kids.

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