Tag Archives | Genetics

DNA Tests Show Hitler ‘Had Jewish and African Roots’

HitlerSaluteI have heard this before but looks like genetic testing is finally shedding some light on that idea. Heidi Blake writes on the Telegraph:

Saliva samples taken from 39 relatives of the Nazi leader show he may have had biological links to the “subhuman” races that he tried to exterminate during the Holocaust. Jean-Paul Mulders, a Belgian journalist, and Marc Vermeeren, a historian, tracked down the Fuhrer’s relatives, including an Austrian farmer who was his cousin, earlier this year.

A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

“One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised,” Mr Mulders wrote in the Belgian magazine, Knack. Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.

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Sir, Your Liver Is Ready: Welcome to the Brave New World of Bioprinting Organs

BioPrintingDave Bullock writes in WIRED’s Raw File:

Say goodbye to donor lists and organ shortages. A biotech firm has created a printer that prints veins using a patients’ own cells. The device could potentially create whole organs in the future.

“Right now we’re really good at printing blood vessels,” says Ben Shepherd, senior research scientist at regenerative-medicine company Organovo. “We printed 10 this week. We’re still learning how to best condition them to be good, strong blood vessels.”

Most organs in the body are filled with veins, so the ability to print vascular tissue is a critical building block for complete organs. The printed veins are about to start testing in animal trials, and eventually go through human clinical trials. If all goes well, in a few years you may be able to replace a vein that has deteriorated (due to frequent injections of chemo treatment, for example) with custom-printed tissue grown from your own cells.

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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Fluorescent Fish

There’s an old myth that if you breed a goldfish in the dark it will eventually glow iPhoto: Nonfluorescent convict cichlidn the dark.  But Taiwan has figured out a way to make a fish glow by changing its genetics.

Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture exhibited the newest success in transgenic modification last week with the showing of fluorescent convict cichlids.  Convict cichlids, commonly known as zebra cichlids, have been successfully bred through five generations.  After sevens years of research and experimentation, there is still another year left of tests to insure that the fish are able to survive in a natural environment without causing harmful side effects.

Business is already in the works for these fish to be transferred to private companies with the intent of commercial marketing.  It is predicted that this new breed will be on the ornamental fish markets as early as next year. See video clip below:

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Scientists To Map Ozzy Osbourne’s Genetic Code To Find Out Why He is Still Alive

Ozzy Osbourne Silly scientists, Ozzy's still alive because he's a werewolf. We've known this since the '80s. Elizabeth Scott writes on Sky News:
Scientists are to map Ozzy Osbourne's genetic code in a bid to find out how he is still alive after decades of drug and alcohol abuse. The former Black Sabbath frontman is only one of a few people in the world to have his full genome analysed. It is hoped the results from the £27,000 test, which takes three months, will provide information on how drugs are absorbed in the body. Ozzy, 61, has lived a life that would presumably kill any ordinary person. Even the singer himself cannot understand how he has survived this long, recently describing himself as a "medical miracle" after going on a "bender" for "40 years."
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Do-It-Yourself Genetic Testing Kits Hit Drugstore Shelves

genesLast week, Walgreens drugstores across the country began selling over-the-counter genetics kits. Purchase one and you can test yourself for genetic risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Is this empowering, or just ripe for confusion and misuse? From NBC Chicago:

Soon, your pharmacy shopping list could include a bottle of soda, a candy bar, and a personal genetic testing kit.

Starting Friday, Walgreens shoppers can buy an over-the-counter genetics test from Pathway Genomics at 7,500 stores across the country. Priced at $20 to $30, the kit claims to offer information on users’ possibility of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, or diabetes.

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Woman With Breast Cancer Gene Files First Genetic Discrimination Lawsuit In U.S.

Photo: CIAT via Flickr (CC)

Photo: CIAT via Flickr (CC)

Can you be fired for having bad genes? For the first time, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act is being tested. Ewen Callaway at New Scientist writes:

In what may be the first US case of genetic discrimination since Congress banned the practice in 2008, a Connecticut woman claims she lost her job because she has a gene that predisposes her to breast cancer.

She and her lawyers filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

They allege that her employer, a utility company called MXenergy, violated a new federal law that protects people against genetic discrimination by employers and insurance companies, reports the Associated Press (AP).

Pamela Fink, a 39-year-old woman from Fairfield, Connecticut, alleges that she lost her job at MXenergy after she told the company that she had a mutation in a gene called BRCA2 that is linked to a greatly increased risk of breast cancer.

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GMOs Alter the Genetic Make Up of Our Healthy Bacteria

Kim Evans writes on Natural News:

Although GMOs have infiltrated our food supply, the results of human feeding trials have only been published on one single occasion. Unfortunately, that occasion offered some pretty disturbing findings. It found that the genetic code of GM soy can infiltrate the genetic code of the healthy bacteria in our guts — and change the genetic makeup of the healthy bacteria inside us. Nobody knows how these mutant bacteria will function inside us — yet given the proliferation of GM soy, most of the population probably already has them inside of them.

Mutating the genetic code of our healthy bacteria is incredibly dangerous because these healthy bacteria live inside us for a reason. They are our first line of immune defense and they keep us well by crowding out many harmful bacteria, fungus, and pathogens that cause innumerable diseases. But when their genetic structure is changed, who knows if they’ll be able to do this job effectively?

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Liberals, Atheists Are More Highly Evolved?

Smarter people are more inclined to nontraditional values, a study suggests, reported by National Geographic:

Your apelike ancestors probably aren’t top of mind when you enter the polling booth. But a new study suggests that human evolution may have a big influence on whether you’re liberal or conservative—not to mention how smart you are, whether you believe in God, or whether you’ve got a cheatin’ heart.

It’s all linked to the evolution of intelligence, says author Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kanazawa’s theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.

Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn’t likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to “know” how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.

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Archbishop Tutu’s DNA Helps Show African Diversity

Archbishop-TutuBy Malcolm Ritter for AP via comcast.net News:

Scientists who decoded the DNA of some southern Africans have found striking new evidence of the genetic diversity on that continent, and uncovered a surprise about the ancestry of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

They found, for example, that any two Bushmen in their study who spoke different languages were more different genetically than a European compared to an Asian. That was true even if the Bushmen lived within walking distance of each other.

“If we really want to understand human diversity, we need to go to (southern) Africa and we need to study those people,” said Stephan Schuster of Pennsylvania State University. He’s an author of the study, which appears in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

The study also found 1.3 million tiny variations that hadn’t been observed before in any human DNA. That should help scientists sort out whether particular genes promote certain diseases or influence a person’s response to medications.

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‘Sex Puppeteers’ Force Sex Changes and Virgin Births in Bugs Via Genes

Christine Dell'Amore writes in National Geographic News:wolbachia infected wasp egg
Fast-spreading parasite species force sex changes on their victims, induce virgin births, and turn animals into "gross monsters" — among other horrors. Now a new study has decoded how the bacteria may be able to wreak their havoc: by shutting down immune systems. The parasites, of the Wolbachia bacteria genus, cause a gene in wasps to stifle the insect's protein-based "alarms" against the bacterial invaders, say researchers who mapped the genomes of three species of Nasonia wasp for the first time. As a result, the wasps' antibacterial defenses are never deployed, allowing Wolbachia to begin their dirty work.
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