Tag: human evolution

Top Genetic Findings of 2012

Take a moment to look back at the ten most interesting and significant genetic findings of 2012 or at least the ones that drew our attention. In the last 12 months we’ve seen huge strides in genetic research giving us new insight into serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s as well as new treatments for ...

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Back-to-School: Human Prehistory 101

Soon children will be filling their backpacks with new notebooks and pencils and piling into yellow school buses.  Even if your school days are long past, you need not be left behind.  Learning is life-long, and you can continue your education using 23andMe's short animated guides to human prehistory.  ...

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Is Autoimmunity a Result of Genetic Adaptation to Pathogens?

Pinworms—small worms that infect the intestines—are the most common worm infection in the United States. Although all people are over 99.9% genetically identical, the small amount of diversity that does exist between individuals tends to track with ethnicity. This is probably pretty obvious—an individual of ...

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Location, Location, Location: Did Humans Start Out in Southern Africa?

by Mike Macpherson, Shirley Wu, and Joanna Mountain A young Hadza hunter From just flecks of bone and specks of DNA, scientists have been able to piece together a story of the origin of our species. That story, by most accounts, begins in eastern Africa 100-200,000 years ago. After all, multiple lines of ...

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SNPwatch: Two Large Studies Identify More Variants Associated with Blood-Related Traits

Previously in The Spittoon, we discussed two papers that identified genetic variants associated with hemoglobin levels in circulating blood. But blood consists of much more than hemoglobin, and it is responsible for much more than just transporting oxygen. This week Nature Genetics published the results of ...

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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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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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The Ultimate Trade-off: Genes, Environment, and Why We Crave Twinkies

Last week in the Spittoon we reported on a new study that identified an interesting genetic trade-off — a genetic variant known that has one effect on a person's vulnerability to malaria, and the opposite on susceptibility to HIV infection. The "Duffy negative" version of the gene, which is common among ...

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