Do Parents Have a Right to Sue Over Their Kids’ Genetics?

It’s a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilisation, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm. Read More >>

Your Most Distant Living Relative Is Probably This Tiny Jelly

For years, a debate has raged among scientists as to which ancient creature represents the first true animal, sponges or jellies. Using a new genetic technique, a collaborative team of researchers has concluded that ctenophores—also known as comb jellies—were the first animals to appear on Earth. It’s an important step forward in this longstanding debate, but this issue is far from being resolved. Read More >>

Two-Thirds of All Cancer Mutations Are ‘Unavoidable,’ Scientists Claim

In a study that’s bound to attract considerable controversy, a pair of researchers are claiming that between 60 and 66 per cent of all cancer-causing mutations are the result of random DNA copying errors, making them essentially unavoidable. The new research is offering important insights into how cancer emerges, and how it should be diagnosed and treated—but many questions remain. Read More >>

Scientists Just Took a Major Step Toward the First Complex Artificial Life

In 2008, researchers built the first artificial genome, a wonder of synthetic biology in which scientists generated all 582,970 base pairs of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium’s genome entirely from scratch. It was an unparalleled scientific achievement, requiring scientists to carefully design 101 unique DNA fragments so that their codes would overlap and stick together, then bind those fragments piece by piece. It was also small potatoes, one of many steps along the way to eventually creating a synthetic eukaryotic organism. Read More >>

This Single Gram of DNA Contains an Amazon Gift Card, a Virus and an Entire Movie 

Ten years ago, if you wanted to back up some old photos, you might have stored them on a big, clunky external hard drive that weighed a couple of pounds and was a pain to lug around. Ten years from now, you might back up all the data from your entire life on just a few grams of DNA. Read More >>

Poo May Be the Key to Studying the Most Elusive Animals on Earth

The secrets of the animal kingdom just might be hidden within piles of animal crap. Read More >>

The Next Pseudoscience Health Craze Is All About Genetics

Recently, Vitaliy Husar received results from a DNA screening that changed his life. It wasn’t a gene that suggested a high likelihood of cancer or a shocking revelation about his family tree. It was his diet. It was all wrong. Read More >>

This Tiny Disease-Diagnosing Microchip Costs Less Than a Penny to Make

Diagnosing disease often requires analysing and detecting single cells with lab tests that cost hundreds of pounds each. Hospitals in a poor country stricken with a disease epidemic like HIV or malaria simply might not have the funds to run all of those tests. Scientists are looking for a cheaper option. Read More >>

Scientists Can Now Sequence DNA With a Smartphone

It was not so long ago that sequencing even tiny snippets of DNA was a costly, cumbersome process that required access to a state-the-art lab. Today, we are inching close to putting a DNA sequencer in every pocket. Read More >>

This Magical Spray Can Modify a Plant’s Genes

If you wanted to, say, turn a red pepper yellow, you have a few options. You could directly tinker with with the plant’s genetic code, tweaking the genes that control its colour. Or, perhaps, you could just mist the plant with a spray that changes its gene expression without altering its genetics. Read More >>

year in review
The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2016

Another year has passed, which means we’re another step closer to the tomorrow of our dreams. Here are the most futuristic developments of 2016. Read More >>

This Mutated Fish Can Now Withstand Absurd Levels of Toxic Waste

Researchers have discovered that Atlantic killifish are now 8,000 times more resilient to high levels of toxic waste than other fish, allowing them to survive extreme levels of pollution that would normally be deadly. It sounds like an evolutionary success story, but examples like this are exceptionally rare in the animal kingdom. Read More >>

We Were Wrong About HIV’s ‘Patient Zero’ 

The origin of the AIDS pandemic has been reconstructed in unprecedented detail, showing the disease jumped from the Caribbean to New York City around 1970. The study subsequently clears the name of Gaétan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant long-thought to be “Patient Zero.” Read More >>

Snakes Have No Legs Because of a Mutated Sonic Hedgehog Gene

Snakes! Where are their arms and legs? It’s not ok! Over 100 million years ago snakes did have four appendages, and then evolution stepped in to turn the reptiles into the creepy, slithering freak show that they are today. Now, researchers believe they’ve isolated what caused this change. Read More >>

Why Storing Tomatoes in the Fridge Is a Bad Idea

Most foodies warn against storing tomatoes in the fridge, saying it saps them of their flavour. New research confirms this culinary opinion, revealing the way cold temperatures prevent critical flavour-enhancing genes from doing their job. Read More >>