Category: genetics 101

People of the Veil: New Study Reveals Clues to Origins of the Nomadic Tuaregs

Not many people could survive the harsh conditions of the Sahara Desert.  Yet the Tuareg have lived in the the region for millennia. The Tuareg call themselves the Imazghan, meaning "free people." Today they are known for a distinctive dark blue turban worn by the men, and for their long history as ...

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DNA Day 2009 – It’s Almost Here!

DNA Day was created in 2003 by a congressional resolution to celebrate two important milestones in the study of genetics: the 50th anniversary of the description of the double-helix structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick and the completion of the Human Genome Project. DNA Day is usually ...

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Researchers Tie Variation in Cancer Gene to Winter Temperatures

How can geneticists tell when a genetic difference between two human populations is an accident and when it’s the result of natural selection? As our species moved out of Africa and spread out across the globe, there were a lot of chances for random DNA mutations to occur.  Many of these were neutral – ...

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Understanding The Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease: A Work In Progress

PET scans showing dopamine activity in a normal brain and a Parkinson's patient's before and after treatment with a therapeutic implant. More than a million Americans have Parkinson's disease, and another 50,000 are diagnosed each year. Scientists know that many of the characteristic symptoms 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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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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The Evolution of a Theory: Darwin and Evolution 150 Year Later

Biology has changed a lot over the past 150 years. Scientists have discovered entirely new forms of life, deciphered the molecular code of heredity and observed the machinery of life on the smallest dimensions. And through it all, one scientific theory has stood the test of time. New discoveries in ...

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Cereal Killer: The Tragic Tale of a Fatal Statistical Flaw

Pop Quiz: What do women who eat cereal for breakfast each morning have in common? They get a full day's supply of 11 essential vitamins and minerals. They enjoy better sex lives than women who don't eat cereal for breakfast. They are more likely to give birth to male children. They make buying ...

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Past DNA Day Essays Reveal Student Misconceptions About Genetics

For many people, the first and last place they will ever study genetics is high school biology class. So it is crucial that these classes prepare people to deal with the barrage of genetic advancements that are increasingly impacting everyday life. Unfortunately, many high school biology courses are not ...

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DNA Day Essay Contest 2009

Even though there are still 152 days to go until DNA Day 2009, it’s never too early for high school students to start thinking about next year’s essay contest. The deadline for teachers to submit the top three essays from their classes is March 16, 2009. Rules and questions are posted on the ASHG ...

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