Tagged: genetics

‘Conservation by numbers’ hides genetic dangers in endangered species - Wild Science

Helen Taylor Jan 18, 2017

How do we know when a threatened species is ‘safe’? A new study featuring one of New Zealand’s iconic kiwi species suggests increasing population size might not be enough – an increase in numbers doesn’t always cut it for conservation… Saving threatened species tends to be a numbers game. We often use population growth as a proxy for population … Read More

The next frontier in reproductive tourism? Genetic modification - Guest Work

Guest Work Nov 22, 2016

Rosa Castro, Duke University The birth of the first baby born using a technique called mitochondrial replacement, which uses DNA from three people to “correct” an inherited genetic mutation, was announced on Sept. 27. Mitochondrial replacement or donation allows women who carry mitochondrial diseases to avoid passing them on to their child. These diseases can range from … Read More

Parts of our genome are actually viral - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Nov 04, 2016

I’ve just come across a most excellent article by the Genetic Literacy Project. In it, Nicholas Staropoli notes that a proportion of the human genome actually has viral origins. This might sound a bit strange – after all, we tend to think of viruses as our enemies (smallpox, measles, and the human papilloma virus come to mind). But, as … Read More

Swashbuckling NZ spider’s eight million year world tour - News

John Kerr Oct 14, 2016

Species of coastal New Zealand spiders likely rafted here as a part of an eight million year round-the-world trip, suggests a new study. The Amaurobioides genus of spiders has species dotted around the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, Australia  and South America. These spiders eke out a tough life living in the coastal ‘spray zone’ on rocky shores. The genus includes the sea … Read More

Selection and dog breeds - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Sep 16, 2016

So, I own a pocket wolf… Oh, OK, I own a little black mini-poodle. But, like all dogs, he has the same number of chromosomes as a wolf! There’s been several articles posted recently about the evolution of domestic dogs. While we’ve tended to think that domestication didn’t begin until humans began to settle down & develop agriculture, DNA analysis suggests … Read More

Why isn’t there a gene for depression? - Guest Work

Guest Work Sep 14, 2016

Sarah Bailey, University of Bath Depression is sometimes categorised as a mental, rather than a physical illness – as though somehow mental health is different from physical health. But the brain is not a magical black box inside your head. It is an organ, just like the heart or lungs, made up of cells and supplied with … Read More

23 and NZ: Genetic testing results restricted - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Sep 06, 2016

I knew that genetic testing service 23andMe was having FDA trouble in the US: the FDA restricted 23andMe from providing health advice based on its genetic tests except where the FDA approved the specific tests. As Gizmodo put it, you’re getting less service for more money, but with an FDA seal of approval on those tests you … Read More

Ice ages led to ‘explosive’ diversity in Kiwi species - News

John Kerr Sep 01, 2016

Ancient walls of ice separating kiwi populations have left their mark in the DNA of New Zealand’s most iconic species. A new study published this week in PNAS has revealed the enormous impact historic cold snaps had on the evolution of kiwis. Researchers based in Canada, in collaboration with Department of Conservation scientists, examined a database of kiwi DNA across the geographic … Read More

Can genes really predict educational achievement? - Guest Work

Guest Work Jul 27, 2016

Daphne Martschenko, University of Cambridge Researchers at King’s College London say they are able to predict educational achievement from DNA alone. Using a new type of analysis called a “genome-wide polygenic score”, or GPS, they analysed DNA samples from 3,497 people in the ongoing Twins Early Development Study. They found that people whose DNA had … Read More

Samoa obesity-gene link not so simple - News

John Kerr Jul 26, 2016

High rates of obesity in Samoa have been linked to a particular version of a gene which is prevalent among the island’s population. However, relying on the often repeated formula of ‘gene X’ causes ‘condition Y’ risks oversimplification, say experts. The results, published today in Nature Genetics, were based on an analysis of DNA samples and basic health data collected from … Read More