Archives for 2008

Sex, money, dancing, eating….and voles?

At the end of last year (2007) you may have seen reports claiming that scientists in Israel discovered the “gene for altruism.” What they actually found was that a variation in a gene called AVPR1a influences how much money students give to others in the “dictator game,” an experiment where subjects make ...

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Silly Rabbit, Spit Comes from Quids

A few years back, archaeologist Anna Dhody was thinking about how amazing it is that DNA forensic scientists can collect DNA evidence from nothing more than a discarded cigarette butt or paper cup. If there is enough DNA clinging to those modern-day objects to identify the people who used them, she reasoned, ...

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My Genome is in a Tube of Spit?

Spit has DNA? Well, not exactly. Spit has cells in it, and the cells have DNA. For everything except bacteria (and some other types of single-celled organisms), DNA is wound up tightly inside a cellular structure called the “nucleus”. It’s actually pretty amazing how well it’s packed - the DNA of a ...

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Colonists and Colon Cancer

When Mr. and Mrs. George Fry arrived in the New World nearly four centuries ago, they brought with them not just dreams of a better life, but a curse – a genetic mutation that has caused thousands of their descendants to develop cancer. Scientists reported on Wednesday that they had tracked a mutation that ...

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