genetics

Federal Court Of Australia: Patents On Genes Are Totally Fine

While the legal system plays catch-up with the ever-changing facets of the Digital Age, so to are the medical sciences trying to figure out lawtastic minefields such as stem cell research, cloning and genetics. That last one in particular featured recently in a decision handed down by Federal Court of Australia, with its sitting judges ruling that yes, companies can indeed patent genes.


The World's First Handheld DNA Amplifier Is A Genetics Lab In A Box

DNA sequencing is crucial for identifying and tracking nasty viruses like E. coli and the flu. But current tabletop-size DNA sequencing machines aren’t readily portable. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand have a solution in a brick-sized DNA sequencer that connects wirelessly to a smartphone or laptop.


How Lizard Tails Could Help Scientists Study Human Limb Regeneration

Prosthetic technology is getting insanely good. But what if we just didn’t need it any more? What if we could simply program our genes to regrow human limbs as easily as lizards regrow lost tails? Well, scientists are getting closer to that fantastic future.


DIY Diagnosis: How One Woman Uncovered Her Own Genetic Flaw

When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why.


How The Internet Is Helping A Father Fight An Illness Unknown To Science

In 2012, Matt Might sat down to write a blog post. The 5000-word essay titled “Hunting Down My Son’s Killer,” which was also republished on Gizmodo, documented his and his wife’s harrowing attempt to make sense of their son’s mysterious illness. The post went viral online — setting the family down a road that could change medical research. In the New Yorker, journalist Seth Mnookin tells the story of what’s happened since.


There's A Plan To Breed Bald Chickens That Can Survive Global Warming

In a few decades, global warming will likely make our unbearable summers hotter, longer, and even more unbearable. So think of the chickens. Or, if you can’t find a place for chickens in your heart, think of the chicken nuggets and hot wings that you’ll miss. That’s why researchers at the University of Delaware want to breed a heat-resistant chicken with no feathers on its head and neck.


New Software Can Spot Rare Genetic Diseases From Family Photographs

Spotting rare genetic disease is, by definition, a little tricky. But now a team of scientists from the University of Oxford has developed software that can spot such conditions by analysing family photographs.


Mystery Illnesses Could Now Be Diagnosed With A Rapid DNA Test

When we think of medicine, we usually think of the treatment: drugs, surgery, therapy. But before all that comes the diagnosis — a tricky proposition when symptoms are confusing and information scant. Now for the first time ever, doctors were able to use rapid DNA sequencing to identify an obscure bacterium in time to save a boy’s life.


Scientists Have Created 'Alien' DNA

After 15 years of work, scientists have successfully created a living cell that contains two unnatural DNA building blocks. The breakthrough brings us one step closer to being able to synthesise cells that can produce drugs on demand. It even opens the door to a future where we could create life that’s unlike anything ever found on Earth.


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.


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