Author: AnneH

Scientists Publish Largest-Ever Study on the Genetics of Modern Africans

When scientific research is published, the authors often confess that they wish they'd collected more data. Critical reviews of research studies often say the same thing. Indeed, if there's anything scientists love, it's more data. Which is why the members of an international team of genetic ...

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Recommended Reading: The Stuff of Life

I spent the better part of my undergraduate career lugging around massive biology textbooks.  General biology, genetics, embryology: It didn't matter, they all weighed a ton. I pored over endless chapters of text, highlighting the important sentences, always wishing for more photos, more diagrams, more ...

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The End of a Dynasty: How Inbreeding Doomed the House of Habsburg

The Royal House of Habsburg, one of the most powerful dynasties of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, reigned over much of Europe for centuries. Beginning in the early 12th century they quickly expanded their realm through a series of strategically executed marriages, from the mountains of Switzerland to a ...

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There’s More to Neanderthals than Meets the Eye

Over the past decade, there has been no shortage of studies focused on the relationship between Neanderthals and our own species, Homo sapiens. Researchers have dug deep into the fossil record and our genomes to uncover how closely related we are to the Neanderthals, whether we interacted with them, and even ...

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New Study Provides More Genetic Evidence for Origins of African Pygmies

Ever since European explorers first came upon the African Pygmies in the mid-19th century, they have fascinated anthropologists and other researchers.  Their short stature (they rarely grow to over 5 feet), unique languages, and distinct genetic signatures have led to much speculation on how such groups of ...

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The Genetics of Globalization

Before 500 years ago people rarely went far to find a mate, choosing a husband or wife from the locally available pool of men and women. But with the dawn of European colonialism people from different parts of the world were suddenly living side by side, and had a whole new set of people to choose from when ...

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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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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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Leaving No Stone Unturned: DNA Analysis Confirms Identities of Missing Romanovs

There are many mysteries surrounding the final days of the last Emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas, and his family.  The most perplexing of them all is the fate of one of the Tsar's daughters, the Grand Duchess Anastasia.  Even after Bolsheviks  murdered the family in the summer of 1918, rumors circulated ...

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Researchers Announce Draft Version of Complete Neanderthal Genome

First came the Human Genome Project when, in the year 2000, an international team of scientists began mapping all 23 pairs of our chromosomes.  Then in 2005, the Chimpanzee Genome Project took off, attempting to do the same for the 24 chromosomes of our species' closest living relative.  With intimate ...

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