science
Scientists Could Soon Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth – But Should They?

Bringing an extinct species back to life was once firmly in the realm of science fiction, but as genetic engineering advances rapidly, the prospect of a woolly mammoth again breathing and walking on Earth seems almost within reach. Before fully resurrecting the mammoth, synthetic biologists at the Revive and Restore project are working to resuscitate pieces of ancient genomes with the goal of mixing them with the DNA of living species (Asian elephants—their closest living relatives) in an attempt to create “proxy species”—animals that display the traits of the ancient original. Read More >>

animals
Newly Decoded Great White Shark Genome Hints at Why They’re So Indestructible

The great white shark is impressively terrifying (though not actually much of a threat to humans). But a new study shows that the animal is also an impressive feat of evolution. For the first time, scientists say they’ve fully unspooled the genome of the great white, a discovery that will help us better understand why sharks are so good at warding off cancer and other age-related diseases—information that could someday help people do the same. Read More >>

science
Gene Therapy for the Most Common Form of Blindness Gets Its First Human Test

An 80-year-old woman from Oxford is the first patient to undergo gene therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration—the most common cause of sight loss in the world. Read More >>

science
Stanford to Investigate Links Between Faculty and Rogue Chinese Scientist

Three high-profile faculty members at Stanford University are under investigation for alleged ties to He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who claimed to use CRISPR to produce genetically modified human babies last year, MIT Technology Review reports. Read More >>

science
Genetic Testing Company Hands the FBI Access to Its Database

There are plenty of reasons to be wary of at-home DNA testing, particularly if you’re concerned about genetic privacy. That’s especially true now that it’s come to light that FamilyTreeDNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies, is cooperating with the FBI to give its agents access to its genealogy database. Read More >>

science
China’s Latest Cloned-Monkey Experiment Is an Ethical Mess

Chinese researchers have cloned five gene-edited monkeys with a host of genetic disease symptoms, according to two scientific papers published today. Read More >>

science
A Lifelong Biodome Experiment Could Reveal How the Immune System Shapes Personality

It’s the sort of realisation that ought to make you existentially terrified: All of your thoughts and actions are influenced by countless interconnected factors, most of which you are never conscious of. Read More >>

science
Report: Scientists in China Are Losing Track of Gene-Edited CRISPR Patients

Gene therapies are very much at their preliminary stages of development, so it would make sense to keep tabs on patients whose DNA has been modified via the innovative CRISPR technique. For some scientists in China, however, this is apparently not a priority. Read More >>

science
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 >>

science
Chinese Government Says It Has Shut Down Controversial Human Gene-Editing Project

A project claiming to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been stopped by the Chinese government, which is declaring the work of scientist He Jiankui as being both unlawful and unethical, according to the Associated Press. Read More >>

science
Rogue Scientist Defends Gene-Edited Babies – And Reveals a Second Pregnancy

Speaking at a genetics conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, embattled Chinese scientist He Jiankui said he was “proud” to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, despite receiving near-universal condemnation from his peers. Speaking publicly today for the first time, the scientist offered new details about his unauthorised, clandestine project – including news of another woman who is pregnant with an edited embryo. Read More >>

science
Reports of First Genetically Enhanced Babies Spark Outrage

Twin girls born earlier this month had their DNA altered to prevent them from contracting HIV, according to an Associated Press report. If confirmed, the births would signify the first gene-edited babies in human history—a stunning development that’s sparking an outcry from scientists and ethicists. Read More >>

uncategorized
Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree

Canadian scientists have identified microscopic creatures that are so unlike anything seen before, they had to create an entirely new branch on the evolutionary tree of life to slot them in. Read More >>

science
Upsettingly Large Fungus in USA Weighs 440 Tonnes and Is 2,500 Years Old

It’s nicknamed the “humongous fungus” – an unusually large fungal growth belonging to a single genetic individual. An updated analysis of this gigantic fungal beast shows it’s substantially larger and older than scientists initially thought. Read More >>

science
Three New DNA Studies Are Shaking Up the History of Humans in the Americas

It’s a huge event for archaeologists and anyone interested in the history of America’s first settlers. Findings from three new genetics studies, released last week, are presenting a fascinating, yet complex, picture of the first people in North and South America, and how they spread and diversified across two continents. Read More >>