genetics

Predict What Your Future Children Look Like In 'Virtual Embryos'

Remember those slightly horrifying sites that mash up two faces to tell you what your hypothetical babies might look like? With genome sequencing and “virtual embryos”, we might actually be able to do that — using science. Those days are not quite here yet, but New Scientist has an intriguing report about a company called GenePeeks. We already screen for common genetic disorders by testing the DNA of prospective parents.


Scientists Manipulate Genes To Make Old Organs Young Again (In Mice)

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh showed this week that they could teach an old mouse’s thymus to bounce back to a healthy, youthful state, simply by manipulating a single protein that controls gene expression. It’s the first time scientists have been able to regenerate a living organ by gene manipulation, and it could have huge implications in health science.


Scientists Genetically Modified Trees So They Can Make Greener Paper

Wood scientists just announced an exciting breakthrough in tree research. They have come up with a way to make more environmentally friendly paper — by genetically modifying trees. And it’s not just the paper industry that will benefit.


These Eerily Accurate Mugshots Were Created From DNA Alone

Everyone knows that DNA can be invaluable when it comes to solving crimes. But now genetic analysis can be used to generate incredibly precise mugshots of criminals, too.


Would You Customise Your First Born Child?

The recent announcement by a British medical ethics board in favour of an experimental three-parent IVF treatment — wherein the genetic material from three donors, not the usual two, is used to create a foetus — and has once again stirred the pot of reproductive controversy. So where exactly is the line between prenatal treatments and eugenic experiments?


Resurrecting Dinosaur-Age Proteins To Cure Human Disease

While dinosaurs have not yet been resurrected Jurassic Park-style, scientists fiddling with ancient DNA sequences have made a discovery that may turn out to be a tad more useful: a treatment for gout. That a 90-million-year-old protein could treat a modern disease is a fascinating window into evolutionary history.


Your Sperm Are Ticking, Mutating Time Bombs

Everyone knows that as men age so do their sperm, slowing a little and becoming less… potent. But research suggests that sperm actually mutate with age — which in turn could increase the chances of fathering a child with a genetic disorder.


Giz Explains: What Are GMO Foods, And Are They OK To Eat?

The advent of genetically modified crops has promised heartier food and higher yields that could potentially reduce poverty and malnutrition rates the world over. Two decades later, they’re also broadly maligned and mistrusted. But is it finally time to put down the pitchforks?


The Science Of Marrying Your Cousin

In modern Western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted. Through a combination of old prejudices and present-day conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first-cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children.


First Custom Mutant Monkeys Bring Us One Step Closer To Designer Babies

These are the first monkeys with customised mutations were just born in China, marking a new era in precision gene editing. (Read: bringing us closer to a Gattaca-like future where designer babies grow into perfect people that never get sick.) They are twins.