Don’t Call it a Comeback: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Human IRGM Gene

Throughout the course of human evolution, there have been plenty of firsts. Small changes in our genetic code have laid the groundwork for our bipedal gait, our large brains, and our ability to speak complex languages. There are countless genes throughout the human genome that distinguish us from our ...

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The Origins of the Forest-Dwelling African Pygmies

Once distributed throughout tropical Africa, Pygmies now live in pockets of the continent's rainforest.Africa is home to a number of dwindling hunter-gatherer populations, most of them living deep in the rainforests that stretch from western Africa's Atlantic coast to the eastern edge of the Democratic ...

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Researchers Identify Genetic Variant Linking Autism And Gastrointestinal Disorders

Autism, a neurological disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate with and relate to others, affects one in every 150 American children. Genetics is thought to be at least partly to blame for this condition, but research aimed at finding the genes involved has been frustratingly slow. This is ...

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What Happens After I Spit? A Saliva Sample’s Saga

The way our Personal Genome Service™ works is pretty straightforward, at least from a customer's point of view. We send you a saliva collection kit, which is at its heart a plastic tube. You spit in the tube and send it to our laboratory, which extracts DNA from your saliva, analyzes it and deposits the ...

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SNPwatch: Unlikely Gene May Contribute To Cocaine Dependence and Paranoia

SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide ...

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Mouse Research May Shed Light On Human Iron Disorder

Our bodies need iron: to form the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin for our red blood cells, maintain our immune systems and keep our muscles and brains functioning properly. But not too much.  Excess iron can build up in tissues like the liver, heart and pancreas, causing damage and possibly organ ...

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Bugs in Your Mouth: Yours Isn’t the Only DNA Floating Around in that Spit Sample

Each of us is made up of about 50 trillion cells, which is pretty mind-blowing until you consider the number of microbial cells living on or in each of us.  It’s estimated that a healthy adult is lugging around 10 times more bugs, most of them bacteria, than human cells. Just as the tiny differences we ...

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Researchers Make Progress In Understanding Crohn’s Disease By Looking At The Big Picture

Genome wide association (GWA) studies of SNPs are helping scientists learn about the underlying biology of many complex diseases. But even the most enthusiastic proponents of this relatively new type of research admit that many studies simply can’t find genetic variations that have real, but very small, ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variation That Reduces Immune Cell Activity May Lessen Severity of Lung Damage in Cystic Fibrosis Patients

SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide ...

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History’s Mysteries: Finding Answers in our DNA

As we have shown time and again here at the Spittoon, our DNA can greatly illuminate the lives of our most ancient ancestors.  We've learned how the ancient Phoenicians left their genetic footprints scattered across the Mediterranean Sea, and seen the DNA signatures of the first farmers sprinkled everywhere ...

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