SNPwatch: Genetic Variants Associated with Risk of Paget’s Disease of Bone Identified

Aching joints and bones aren't always just a normal part of aging.  For some, they are a symptom of Paget's disease of bone (PDB), a condition that affects more than one million people over the age of 45 in the United States. Bone tissue is constantly being recycled.  As old bone is broken down, new bone ...

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SNPwatch: Two Studies Connect More Immune System Genes to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common autoimmune disease in which the individual's own immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing stiffness and muscle aches. Like other autoimmune diseases, development of rheumatoid arthritis is likely caused by a complex combination of genetic and environmental ...

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SNPwatch: Large Study Identifies Two More Genetic Variants Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease

Understanding Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in people 65 years and older, is of the utmost importance as the population of the United States (and many other nations) becomes increasingly older.  Currently more than five million Americans are thought to have the disease, but by the ...

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Genes, Languages and Artifacts Yield Insights Into African Prehistory

The author during her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. As a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in Kenya 25 years ago, I was fascinated by the cultural, linguistic, and physical differences among the people of eastern Africa. One of our Kenyan trainers took us to a "boma" where his tall, ...

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The Widely Whirled New World: A Fresh Look at Latino Genetic Ancestry

Latin America is the home of dances as varied as the stately rumba and the racy salsa. It ranges over searing deserts, rocky heights, and sultry jungles. Perhaps it should not be a surprise, as a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows, that its people run ...

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New Evidence Suggests Interbreeding Between Humans and Neanderthals

This picture shows three bones (Vi33.16, Vi33.25, Vi33.26) from Vindija cave, Croatia. Most of the Neandertal genome sequence was retrieved from these bones./ Image courtesy of Max-Planck-Institute EVA A new study of the Neanderthal genome, published online today in the journal Science, presents strong ...

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Twin Study Points to Importance of Non-genetic Factors in Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, causing unpredictable and varying symptoms that differ from person to person. About 1 in 700 people in the United States is affected by the disease. Because MS often runs in families, it's thought that there is a ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variant May Impact Rate of Cognitive Decline in the Elderly

New research, published recently in the journal Neurology, has found the surprising result that a genetic variant previously associated with better cognitive function in young people appears to have the opposite effect as people get older. Alexandra Fiocco and colleagues from the University of California, ...

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DNA Day!!!

Well, maybe we should say DNA weekend.  Sunday is officially DNA day, but a lot of festivities are happening today to accommodate classroom schedules.  Check your local libraries and science museums to see if there are any activities planned near you (The Spittoon assembled a few here). Today everyone ...

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SNPwatch: Genetic Variant Associated with Food Allergy-related Disorder Eosinophilic Esophagitis

For the millions of children and adults with severe food allergies, ingesting even tiny quantities of some of the most basic foods can result in a potentially deadly reaction.  Milk, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat are some of the most common offenders. Some people with food sensitivities have ...

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