Archives for 2009

New Genetic Analysis Sheds Light on Origins of Indian Castes

For as long as humans have lived in complex communities, cities and civilizations, they have divided and classified their societies. Those divisions have been based on age, gender, appearance or - in many cases - occupation. In many traditional societies artisans would share the same social status; as would ...

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SNPwatch: Common Variants May Influence Glaucoma Risk in Individuals of African Descent

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and is estimated to affect over 66 million people worldwide. This group of diseases is typically caused by increased pressure in the eye, which slowly damages the optic nerve and leads to gradual vision loss and eventual, incurable blindness if left ...

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Human Prehistory 101: Out of (Eastern) Africa

Take a look at the second installment of 23andMe's Human Prehistory 101 series.  23andMe's creative team (led by chief illustrator Ariana Killoran) recently released "Out of (Eastern) Africa."  With this new installment, we pick up where the previous video left off, when humans were starting to take their ...

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SNPwatch: Evidence for Gene-Environment Interaction in Alcoholism

Addiction to alcohol is associated with the brain’s reward system, which reinforces behaviors that feel good — like drinking — by releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and endorphins. With prolonged alcohol consumption, a person's brain can gradually adapt to the point that excessive amounts of ...

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SNPwatch: More Evidence That Genetic Variations are Important for Hepatitis C Infection and Treatment

Unlike the flu virus, which the body is generally able to fight off completely, infection with hepatitis C is often chronic.  That means for most of the three to four million people worldwide who are newly infected each year the virus will persist in the body, where it greatly increases risk for chronic ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Flaw that Causes Rare Metabolic Condition May Also Increase Risk of Severe Liver Disease in Cystic Fibrosis

New research suggests the primary genetic mutation that causes alpha-1 antritrypsin deficiency, a condition that results in liver damage and a wide variety of other problems, also affects risk for liver disorders associated with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, childhood-onset disorder ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variations May Increase Risk Of Prostate Cancer In Japanese Men

This MRI of a man's pelvis shows that his prostate is enlarged to almost three times the regular size, which may be a sign of cancer. The prostate is marked by a cross. Prostate cancer, the most common cancer to affect men, kills 30,000 men of all ethnicities each year. The disease is known to have a strong ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variations May Increase Risk for ALS

Scientists are narrowing in on two regions of the human genome that could be responsible for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that weakens muscles and paralyzes patients within three years of onset, and has no known cure. The ...

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Europe’s First Farmers Came from Afar: New Clues Shed Light on Genetic Ancestry of Modern Europeans

About 10,000 years ago, the prehistoric hunter-gatherers of Europe began meeting some new neighbors. These farmers spread gradually at first, expanding from the Near East through Anatolia and the Balkans. Then agriculture exploded, reaching present-day Britain within a few thousand years. The farmers ...

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SNPwatch: Largest Alzheimer’s Genetic Studies To Date Identify Three New Susceptibility Genes

Despite years of effort and millions of dollars in research funding, only one gene, APOE, has been conclusively associated with Alzheimer's disease risk so far.  But now the results of two of the largest Alzheimer's studies ever provide convincing evidence that three more genes affect risk for the ...

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