SNPwatch: Two Large Studies Identify More Variants Associated with Blood-Related Traits

Previously in The Spittoon, we discussed two papers that identified genetic variants associated with hemoglobin levels in circulating blood. But blood consists of much more than hemoglobin, and it is responsible for much more than just transporting oxygen. This week Nature Genetics published the results of ...

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23and¡Mi Cabeza!: A New Migraine Headache Survey

Here’s how it goes for me: a few afternoons a year, usually when I haven’t slept or eaten right, but sometimes for no apparent reason, I begin to sense a pressure behind my left eyebrow and to feel queasy. By now I know what’s coming, and I resign myself to another miserable evening and a coming day or two ...

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23andMe Scientists Harness Linguistics to Describe Origin and History of Paternal Haplogroup J1e

The Near East – a swath of land that encompasses the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and everywhere in between – has been populated by humans longer than anywhere else in the world save Africa. It is where agriculture was born and spread into Eurasia. It is where the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variations Influencing Hemoglobin Levels Identified

Doctors routinely order the complete blood count (CBC) for their patients because they can learn a lot about a person's health by measuring the numbers of different types of blood cells in the circulation, their sizes and the ratios between them. One component of the CBC is usually a measure of the total ...

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Globules of Globules of Globules: Research Reveals How Our Cells Pack in All That DNA

A segment of chromosome 14 folded to reveal a fractal curve using Origami. Designed and folded by Jason Ku. Photo by Erik Demaine. How do you get three billion pairs of As, Cs, Ts and Gs—about six feet worth of DNA—into the nucleus of a tiny cell? Most students of biology would answer by saying that ...

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Researchers Discover the True Identity of the “Royal Disease”

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Prince Alexei, 1911. The princes of early 20th century Europe had a problem.  The source of their wealth and power -- the royal blood coursing through their veins -- could also sentence them to an early death. A mutation that spontaneously arose in the DNA of Britain's ...

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“What ELSI is new?” at Genomics Law Report

Dan Vorhaus at Genomics Law Report has launched "What ELSI is new?", a series of guest posts on the most pressing ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) relating to genomics.  (You gotta love the name.)  The contributor list is a who's who of voices in the ELSI, policy, and blog worlds.  I'm honored to be ...

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SNPwatch: The Plot Thickens For Thinning Bones

Our bones are amazing structures, capable of supporting tremendous force through complex motions. They do this day in and day out, year after year as we sit, stand, walk, run, lift, work, and play. But as the elderly among us know all too well, bones are not invincible and become more fragile as we age. As ...

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Life on the Fringe: Shrews and Voles Reveal Clues to British Prehistory

Through the millennia wave after wave of migrants - often in the form of invading armies – have descended upon the British Isles. The first people to arrive after the Ice Age were hunter-gatherers who followed their prey north from southern Europe about 12,000 years ago. The Celts came from central Europe ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Clues to Bowel Disease Found in Mice and Men

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which can appear as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, damages the lining of the digestive tract and leads to abdominal cramps, incomplete digestion and nutritional deficiencies. Previous research on IBD gave researchers reason to suspect that the CD39 gene, ...

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