Did Neanderthals and Humans Mate? Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

The Spittoon has pointed out several times in the last few months (here, here and here) that when researchers look for evidence of interbreeding between early humans and Neanderthals, they often fail to find any. But there are still a number of geneticists who would like us to pay heed to the words of ...

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Meet the Team: Michelle Whirl Carrillo

Michelle is 23andMe’s curation manager. “Curation” often evokes images of an old scholar in a musty museum categorizing dinosaur bones for museum exhibits. But in the past decade or so, the term has also come to be used to describe scientists, usually in a biological field, organizing and annotating ...

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Charles Darwin’s Mysterious Illness

In the year 1831, two very important events happened to 22 year-old biologist Charles Darwin.  The first was that he boarded the Beagle, a research vessel upon which he would embark on a five-year journey to Central and South America.  There he would collect mountains of data on hundreds of plant and animal ...

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SNPwatch: Bone Marrow Donor’s DNA May Affect Recipient’s Risk of Fungal Infection

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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A Genomic Moment

Russ Altman. In a recent post on his "Building Confidence" blog, 23andMe scientific advisor Russ Altman recounts an experience that should be familiar to 23andMe customers who regularly read The Spittoon. After reading a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper about a genetic variant associated with ...

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Meet the Team: Alex Khomenko

Alex architects the software that runs 23andMe (Python / C++ / Linux / Apache / MySQL) and manages the engineering team. He's committed to finding the best ways to quickly build simple, scalable products (we've had 11 on-time releases in one year). He's also a bit of a security freak. When hockey season ...

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Genetics May Dull Brain’s Pleasure Response to Food, Causing Weight Gain

Although obesity was seen as a sign of social status during the Renaissance, it’s been known since long before then that being overweight is actually unhealthy. We all know that carrying around extra pounds increases the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, yet one out of three ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variants Affect Weight Loss Drug Effectiveness

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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Genes and Environment Work Together to Increase Risk of Childhood Asthma

“I feel like a fish with no water.” That’s how the child in the public service announcement featuring a flopping, gasping goldfish describes what it feels like to have an asthma attack. The spot encourages parents of the close to nine million kids who suffer from asthma to take steps to decrease the ...

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Roots Television: The Internet TV Channel for Genealogists

People naturally yearn to know where they came from. Genealogists scratch that itch by poring over historical documents such as vital records, tax rolls, census lists and diaries to reconstruct their family history. In recent years, genealogists have also begun using genetic information as another way of ...

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