Author: massie

The Olympic Games and Genes

Just two weeks before the scheduled start of the Beijing Olympics, a German film crew caught a Chinese doctor on film offering to give athletes stem cell treatments to enhance their performance. The reporter has since refused to identify the doctor on the tape and China has vehemently denied the ...

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Needles in a Haystack

Even as the genetic studies on schizophrenia released this week illustrate our progress toward the ultimate goal of personalized medicine, they also bring to mind the challenges that still lie ahead. All three studies focus on identifying the genetic bases of schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by ...

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Gene Wikiality

Two years ago Stephen Colbert, host of the news-parody show, "The Colbert Report" coined the word "wikiality" to describe a reality defined by the majority. "Nation, it’s time we used the power of our numbers for a real internet revolution," Colbert told his audience. "Together we can create a reality that ...

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Victor McKusick: 1921-2008

"Sometimes I feel like Sir James Murray must have felt while he was grubbing away at writing the Oxford English Dictionary," the Washington Post once quoted Victor McKusick as saying. "He managed to complete the first 17 letters before he died." When McKusick, University Professor of Medical Genetics at ...

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Selected to Elect?

On the heels of his previous paper finding that participating in political activities such as voting is influenced in part by genes, political scientist James Fowler and his graduate student Christopher Dawes announced that they’ve identified two genes that are associated with voting itself. In the current ...

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The true value of two-for-one deals

In a recent paper, Southern California researchers announced that political involvement has a genetic component. Though they stopped short of identifying a gene or genes at work, the researchers concluded that the decision to go out and vote was genetically determined by up to 50 percent. Genes, they also ...

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The family that spits together…

You’ve always known that you have your dad’s curly hair, your mother’s eyes, and your grandmother’s coloring. But now that you’ve got your data back from 23andMe, you find yourself wondering whose side of the family the wet ear wax comes from (everyone denies having it), as well as whom to thank for the ...

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SNPwatch: Researchers Find Genetic Variants That May Influence the Risk For Obesity

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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Genetically Gauche?

Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie and Ned Flanders all belong to a group whose members have been referred to as weak, gauche and even downright sinister. These terms are used, in various parts of the world, to describe left-handed people. Since right-handers outnumber southpaws by approximately 9 to 1, it’s not ...

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A Genetic Look at “Guns, Germs and Steel”

What can we learn from studying how variations of human genes are spread out around the world? A lot, said population geneticist and Harvard junior fellow Sohini Ramachandran, who spoke at 23andMe this week. Ramachandran focused on how genes spread from one continent to another, and how they vary within ...

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