Posts Tagged ‘Genetics’

How did humans really evolve? [Io9 Backgrounder]

04 Mar
Almost two million years ago, a band of brave explorers left their families behind in their warm, tropical home and sought refuge in northern lands. Armed with sharp stone tools and their wits, they followed the coast as far north as they could, then began to veer east, settling on the sunny, fertile shores of an inland sea that today we call the Mediterranean. Their children spread further north and east, and a million years later they had established settlements along the coasts of today's Europe, England, and China. More »

You are what your parents eat [Obesity]

23 Dec
Proving once again that life is utterly unfair, it appears that your parents' diet can leave a permanent mark on your genetics. More »

We may be even more alone in the universe than we thought [Evolution]

22 Oct
Two scientists propose that the jump from bacteria to complex life might be much riskier than previously imagined. Even on planets with earthlike conditions, plant and animal life would therefore be incredibly rare. More »

We may have been looking at the wrong DNA for the secrets of longevity [Mad Genomics]

05 Aug
In each cell nucleus, hidden in our massive strands of human DNA, lies the secret of longevity. Or so we thought. But tiny rings of mitochondrial DNA, responsible for coding just 13 proteins, might actually hold the key. More »

Nigerian Couple Stuns Genetic Experts, Give Birth To White Baby Girl

20 Jul

black parents white baby

This is quite interesting. A Nigerian couple living in London gave birth to a blue-eyed and blonde haired white (not albino) baby girl. Pop it for the full story.

black parents white baby

Blue-eyed blonde Nmachi, whose name means “Beauty of God” in the Nigerian couple’s homeland, has baffled genetics experts because neither Ben nor wife Angela have ANY mixed-race family history. Pale genes skipping generations before cropping up again could have explained the baby’s appearance. Ben also stressed: “My wife is true to me. Even if she hadn’t been, the baby still wouldn’t look like that. “We both just sat there after the birth staring at her for ages – not saying anything.” Doctors at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup – where Angela, from nearby Woolwich, gave birth – have told the parents Nmachi is definitely no albino.

Ben, who came to Britain with his wife five years ago and works for South Eastern Trains, said: “She doesn’t look like an albino child anyway – not like the ones I’ve seen back in Nigeria or in books. She just looks like a healthy white baby.” “But we don’t know of any white ancestry. We wondered if it was a genetic twist. “But even then, what is with the long curly blonde hair?” Professor Bryan Sykes, head of Human Genetics at Oxford University and Britain’s leading expert, yesterday called the birth “extraordinary”. He said: “In mixed race humans, the lighter variant of skin tone may come out in a child – and this can sometimes be startlingly different to the skin of the parents.

“This might be the case where there is a lot of genetic mixing, as in Afro-Caribbean populations. But in Nigeria there is little mixing.” Prof Sykes said BOTH parents would have needed “some form of white ancestry” for a pale version of their genes to be passed on. But he added: “The hair is extremely unusual. Even many blonde children don’t have blonde hair like this at birth.” The expert said some unknown mutation was the most likely explanation. He admitted: “The rules of genetics are complex and we still don’t understand what happens in many cases.”

“She’s beautiful and I love her. Her colour doesn’t matter. She’s a miracle baby. “But still, what on earth happened here?” Her husband told how their son Chisom, four, was even more confused than them by his new sister. Ben said: “Our other daughter Dumebi is only two so she’s too young to understand.
“But our boy keeps coming to look at his sister and then sits down looking puzzled.

“We’re a black family. Suddenly he has a white sister.” Ben continued: “Of course, we are baffled too and want to know what’s happened. But we understand life is very strange.

“All that matters is that she’s healthy and that we love her. She’s a proud British Nigerian.”

Wow. We bet their son is confused like some sh*t! This is wild. Peep the video of the couple below:

black parents white baby black parents white baby black parents white baby white baby black parents



Cells have many ways to live, only a couple of ways to die

12 Jul

Robert Horvitz's Nobel Prize came largely for his work in turning a small, transparent worm that lives in the dirt into an experimental system that has won several others Nobel Prizes since. But his pioneering use of C. elegans came about because he was interested in a problem that was simply easier to address in the animal: how and when cells in an organism choose to die through a process called apoptosis. It was his research in this field that was the focus of his talk at the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting.

You might not be aware of it, but many of an animal's cells kill themselves for the greater good of the organism they're part of. In adults, cells with a viral infection or extensive DNA damage (or immune cells that react to the body itself) are induced to commit an organized suicide, slicing up their DNA into short fragments and packaging up their membranes and proteins for easy digestion by their neighbors. The process also takes place during development: we all have webbing between our digits in utero that's gone by birth, and millions of apparently healthy neurons die off to form the adult brain.

Read the rest of this article...

Read the comments on this post


How to win a Nobel Prize: fail, persist, iterate

01 Jul

To hear Oliver Smithies tell it, there was a direct line from one of his first lab projects to the experiments that won him a Nobel Prize. Smithies showed that it was possible to target genes for disruption in mice, a technique that has revolutionized genetics and provided information relevant to human health. 

You wouldn't have guessed it based on the first slide of his talk at the Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting taking place this week in Germany. The slide showed an early page from Smithies' lab notebook of a failed attempt to isolate insulin, an experiment that he had dragged himself into the lab to perform on New Year's Day. 

By showing page after page of his notebook to the audience, Smithies gradually told the tale of how failing to purify insulin eventually led him to a successful scientific career.

Read the rest of this article...

Read the comments on this post


Extinct Tortoise Could Make a Comeback [Reversing Extinction]

24 Sep

When Charles Darwin wrote about giant tortoises living on Floreana in 1835, he noted a marked decline in their population from previous years. Eleven years later, another visitor to the island declared the entire species extinct. But a fortuitous discovery has led researchers to believe that they can bring this animal back from the evolutionary grave.

Although the tortoises vanished from the Floreana, a handful were preserved by the very sailors who contributed to their extinction. When they didn't need the tortoises for food, the sailors would drop the tortoises off at their whaling grounds, notably the Galapagos island of Isabela. There the Floreana tortoises interbred with the native tortoises, allowing their DNA to live on:

"The [living tortoise] samples were collected in 1994, but we had no idea what was in there because we didn't have Floreana data," said Gisella Caccone, an evolutionary biologist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. "OK, now we have genotypes for 15 to 25 animals from the museums, so we did the analysis and boom!"

Sadly, the biologists won't be staging any Jurassic Park-style cloning to revive the reptile, as is being planned for a baby mammoth fossil discovered in Siberia last year. Instead, they will determine if there are enough tortoises carrying the Floreana DNA to begin a selective breeding program.

Extinct Giant Tortoise Could Be Revived [LiveScience]

Comments Off on Extinct Tortoise Could Make a Comeback [Reversing Extinction]

Posted in Uncategorized