Category: genetics 101

More on ABO Blood Type: The Key to Compatibility

When it comes to blood transfusions, what's good for one person might be deadly for another. This might seem obvious today, but until 1900 the idea of "blood types" wasn’t understood. A person in need of a transfusion could find himself getting a donation from just about anyone, and sometimes even an ...

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Novel Techniques Suggest Neanderthal Populations Dwindled in the Face of Expanding Humans

The Neanderthals have always held a special place in the field of anthropology.  The skeletal remains of our short, stocky evolutionary relatives have been found everywhere from Spain to Iraq. Their physical likeness to our own species, and the possibility that humans and Neanderthals may have interacted, ...

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The Disappearing Y: New Study Uncovers the History and Future of the Y Chromosome

It may be you've heard a rumor that males are on the brink of extinction. Whatever you may think of that prospect, the rumor is false. But over the past decade, numerous studies have hinted that the Y chromosome, a male necessity, is going the way of the dodo. Though other studies have suggested this ...

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Archaeologists Discover Early Example of Domesticated Camels

Most experts agree that the earliest examples of farming and animal domestication lie in the aptly named Fertile Crescent, in present day Iraq.  But still many questions have lingered over the years, especially with regard to remnants of farming or animal domestication that have not survived to the present ...

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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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