science
The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2017

The trouble with the future is that it never seems to arrive. That’s why we call it the future. We consequently have this bad habit of taking the present, and all the wondrous and horrific things it has to offer, for granted. As a reminder that we’re actually living in the future of a not-so-distant past, we present to you a list of the most futuristic things that happened in 2017. Read More >>

science
Humans Have Even More Neanderthal DNA Than We Realised

A international team of researchers has completed one of the most detailed analyses of a Neanderthal genome to date. Among the many new findings, the researchers learned that Neanderthals first mated with modern humans a surprisingly long time ago, and that humans living today have more Neanderthal DNA than we assumed. Read More >>

genetics
Key Mutations Show How Tibetans Thrive at High Elevations

At altitudes of 15,000 feet, Tibetans live in environments that would incapacitate most humans. New research has uncovered several genetic mutations that appear to be responsible for these high-altitude superpowers — including a trait inherited from an extinct human species. Read More >>

lichen
We’ve Been Wrong About Lichen For 150 Years

Hundreds of millions of years ago, a tiny green microbe joined forces with a fungus, and together they conquered the world. It’s a tale of two cross-kingdom organisms, one providing food and the one other shelter, and it’s been our touchstone example of symbiosis for 150 years. Trouble is, that story is nowhere near complete. Read More >>

science
Experts Held a Secret Meeting to Consider Building a Human Genome From Scratch

Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern. Read More >>

science
Bloodthirsty Ticks Have a Seriously Weird Genome

Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponised spit, expandable armour, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous. Read More >>

science
Indestructible Water Bears Have a Genome That is Seriously Weird

Water bears, known to scientists as tardigrades, are famously adorable microscopic creatures who can survive anything: freezing, total dehydration, radiation bombardment, and even the vacuum of deep space. Now scientists have sequenced a tardigrade genome, and are very surprised by the results. Read More >>

medicine
Biotech Entrepreneur Peers into Your Medical Future (for £16,500)

Biotech visionary and entrepreneur Craig Venter, famous for inventing a technique to sequence his own genome back in the 1990s, has embarked on a new venture. For $25,000 (just over £16,500), his startup Human Longevity will give you every possible futuristic medical test, potentially revealing your risk for Alzheimer’s. Read More >>

science
First Complete Octopus Genome Will Unlock Cephalopod Secrets

Scientists have finished sequencing the first complete octopus genome, and it’s a big step toward unravelling many cephalopod mysteries, including the basis of their unusual intelligence and unmatched camouflage abilities. Read More >>

medicine
To Treat Cancer, Doctors Will Grow Miniature Organs From Your Tumours

Organoids are exactly what they sound like: simplified miniature organs. And now geneticists are growing them out of living cancer cells, creating tiny, living cancer tumours for study. It sounds terrifying, but it’s actually one possible way we’ll get personalised medicine to treat many kinds of cancer. Read More >>

giz explains
Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology – and a recent study on genetically engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal? Read More >>

health
Of Course 23andMe’s Business Plan Has Been to Sell Your Data All Along

Human genome-hawking company 23andMe has announced what reportedly is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: US-based health firm Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe's data to study Parkinson's. Read More >>

science
IBM’s App Will Sequence Your DNA to Give You Personalised Health Advice

IBM wants its supercomputer Watson to help you get healthy—by analysing your genes. A startup called Pathway Genomics is teaming up with IBM to create a fitness and diet tracking app that uses DNA sequencing and Watson's intelligence to give custom health recommendations. Read More >>