Category: news

The Story of Henrietta Lacks: A Lesson in Biology and Ethics

Editor's note: We posted this a couple of years ago, but in light on the historic agreement between the family of Henrietta Lacks and National Institutes of Health, we thought it worthy of re-posting. Also read Carl Zimmer's great piece in the New York Times. The post has been slightly changed from the ...

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More than 100 Genetic Variations Associated with Leukemia Treatment Response

Treatment advances have dramatically increased the cure rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common diagnosed cancer in children, from less than 10% in the 1960’s to more than 80%. But even in those children who are cured, the response to treatment varies from patient to patient. For ...

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Miss Con-GENE-iality

If Facebook is starting to take over your life, maybe your genes are partly to blame. Researchers from UC San Diego and Harvard University have shown that certain aspects of a person’s social network – how many people consider that person a friend, the likelihood that two of a person’s friends are ...

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Thinking Outside the Box: Bacterial Genetics and the Peopling of the Pacific

Not all bacteria are bad.  Sure, there are plenty of nasty bugs that can make life pretty unpleasant; the ones that cause leprosy, anthrax, and cholera immediately come to mind. But there are also plenty of beneficial bacteria living inside of us that we may not even know about. Some of them help us ...

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JAMA Publishes User’s Guides to Help Physicians Understand Genetic Association Studies

It’s a situation that would leave many physicians at a loss. A 55-year-old man with a family history of dementia asks his doctor about genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. Is there a test? Which test should be used? Is testing even appropriate? This week the Journal of the American Medical ...

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No Good Evidence That Potential Pool of Mad Cow Disease Victims Is Expanding

It sounds like something from a nightmare: decades after eating a tainted hamburger you develop an incurable, fatal disease that literally eats holes in your brain. Unfortunately, for some people this is a nightmare that is all too real. In the 1990s a small number of people in the UK developed a variant ...

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Reading Between the Lines: An Unlikely Use for Mitochondrial DNA Analysis

At the Spittoon we love to hear how scientists are using our DNA to unlock the mysteries of our ancestors.  In fact, hardly a week goes by when we don’t report on the latest discovery in the field of genetic ancestry. Occasionally, however, researchers manage to uncover some mystery of the human past using ...

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Mouse Research Indicates Effect of a SNP in Humans Might Depend on Diet

New research in mice suggests that people who get lucky and inherit a genetic variant that has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes are not totally in the clear. What they eat could turn the protective variant into a risky one. PPARG is a protein involved in fat storage. The relatively rare ...

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Meet the Team: Chia Hwu

Chia, a former organic chemist who is happy to be out of the lab after a ten-year stint in front of a bench, is the Community Manager at 23andMe. What does this mean, you ask? Well, it's a cross between a den mother, grassroots PR person, customer service agent, brand evangelist and community advocate. This ...

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Three New Surveys from 23andWe Ask New Kinds of Questions

Since 23andWe debuted in May, we've asked our customers about all sorts of things: their hair color, earwax consistency, whether they tend to look on life's bright side. Sometimes people have been surprised to learn that something like your susceptibility to motion sickness — or even which way the hair swirls ...

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