Forget the Woolly Mammoth – Let’s Resurrect Some Extinct Plants

From Jesus to “Jurassic Park,” people dream of resurrection, cheating death, defying nature, and uncovering the mysteries of the past. We debate the ethics of reviving extinct species like the passenger pigeon or woolly mammoth, with scientists clamouring to make some poor, hairy proboscidean clone baby take its first awkward steps out onto the ice. Yet somehow, the idea of resurrecting long-lost plants never really caught on in the public imagination. Maybe that’s because most people probably couldn’t even name an extinct plant, let alone one they’d want to smell, see, or study, though Rachel Meyer, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has a hard time picking just one. Read More >>

Palaeontologists Are Sceptical About Baby Dinosaur Cells Supposedly Found in Fossil

With our deepest regrets to the Jurassic Park franchise, DNA does not preserve well, and no genetic data has ever been recovered for dinosaurs. Recent news suggesting that scientists have found dinosaur DNA certainly sounds exciting, but it’s an extraordinary claim that warrants scepticism. Read More >>

Study Suggests Early Humans Had Even More Interspecies Sex

Before we became the only remaining humans on the planet, Homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals and the closely related Denisovans. New research is now revealing that the common ancestor of Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with its own predecessor, a population of “superarchaic” hominids. Read More >>

Using a DNA-Based ‘Computer’, Scientists Get the Square Root of 900

Using a computer-like system made from engineered DNA, scientists have computed the square root of 900. Read More >>

Scientists Want to Hack Grey Squirrels to Death

Scottish scientists are planning to hack the DNA of the often-hated grey squirrel, in hope that selectively breeding a broken female strain could lead to their eventual eradication from the wild. It's the only way a map of Scotland is likely to turn red in the foreseeable future. Read More >>

Scientists Reconstruct ‘Lola’ After Finding Her DNA in 5,700-Year-Old ‘Chewing Gum’

Scientists in Denmark have squeaked out an entire human genome from a prehistoric piece of “chewing gum.” Made from birch tar, the 5,700-year-old gum also contained evidence of diet and disease and is providing a remarkable snapshot of life during the early Neolithic. Read More >>

A Controversial DNA Database Used to Solve Crimes Has Gone Commercial

A third-party DNA database that began as a passion project and later became embroiled in an ongoing debate over genetic privacy has now gone commercial. This week, the San Diego-based forensics company Verogen announced its acquisition of the controversial genealogy website GEDmatch. It’s anyone’s guess as to how the shift in ownership will affect its over one million users – or its recent repurposing as a controversial crime-solving tool. Read More >>

dating apps
Jeffrey Epstein-Funded Geneticist Is Building a Dating App That Only a Eugenicist Could Love

Renowned Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church has focused his work on reversing the effects of ageing, helping humans become immune to viruses, and eradicating genetic diseases. He’s hoping to come closer to accomplishing at least one of those goals with a disturbing dating app that swipes right on eugenics. Read More >>

black friday
Get a Discounted DNA Test This Black Friday, Because Those Never Caused Problems for Anyone

Ah the humble consumer DNA test, a small kit that lets you send off a little bit of your genetic code to unlock secrets about yourself and your family - in the hopes that it would be beneficial somewhere down the road. Because who doesn't love finding out that their dad isn't really their dad, or that your Grandad's German relatives moved to Argentina in the mid-'40s? That's definitely the thing you should be picking up when there's money off. Read More >>

DNA Could Be One of a Million Possible Genetic Molecules

There could be a million different structures with the ability to store genetic information, according to a recent paper. Read More >>

Over 33,000 Brits Have Rare DNA Fluke and Don’t Know It, Study of 23andMe Data Finds

A supposedly rare genetic quirk might be more common than we think, according to new research out Thursday. The study, based largely on 23andMe data, suggests that one in every 2,000 people are born with two copies of a gene from only a single parent, often with no serious health consequences. Read More >>

Basepaws Review: Cat DNA Test is Far From Purrfect

Human DNA testing is big business now, with companies like 23 & Me, Ancestry and MyHeritage all competing for a slice of your genome. Given how obsessed us Brits are with our pets, it was only a matter of time before someone started offering DNA kits for them too. Read More >>

genetic testing
Sequencing the DNA of Newborns Uncovered Hidden Disease Risks and a Whole Lot of Tricky Issues

In the not-too-distant future, it will be possible to get a complete readout of a person’s genetics cheaply and easily, even right after they’re born. A new study published Thursday offers a glimpse of what that future could look, suggesting many children are born with genetic conditions that can’t be found with current screening. But the study also raises important ethical questions about how best to handle the predictions these tests will provide families and their doctors. Read More >>

Don’t Take the DNA Test You’ll Probably Get for Christmas

This year, you and your loved ones may have come across ads for a great gift to give this holiday season: cheaper-than-ever home DNA-testing kits sold by companies like 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and Ancestry. Read More >>

DNA That Should Only Pass Down From Mothers Can Come From Fathers, Too

You probably learned two things about mitochondria in secondary school biology. First, they’re the powerhouses of the cell. Second, you can only inherit them from your mother. But a new study seems to cloud that second point. Read More >>