Tag: dna

  • Mutating Astronaut Blood, A Cautionary Tale

    Researchers at NASA have been holding on to astronaut blood for 20 years. But that's not the story. The story is that over that period, the blood has been mutating. Anthony and Jeff discuss this new wrinkle in the dangers of space travel - and space colonization - and how some very smart people are thinking about it. [more]

  • Prehistoric Boning and Micromorts

    Scientists know a surprising amount about the historical period when Neanderthals and ancient humans were interbreeding, including whether they kissed and the nature of their sexual organs. Jeff and Anthony take a look at this data with the dispassionate professionalism of real scientists who've seen the trailer for the Croods. Then, the unit measure known as the Micromort quantifies your chance at dying from any number of day to day activities. Anthony and Jeff are obsessed with death, but they might find new ways to employ this illuminating value. [more]

  • Loch Screen

    A global team of scientists plans to scour the icy depths of Loch Ness next month using environmental DNA (eDNA) in an experiment that may discover whether Scotland’s fabled monster really does, or did, exist. Whenever a creature moves through its environment, it leaves behind tiny fragments of DNA from skin, scales, feathers, fur, faeces and urine. This story has really left a mark on Jeff and Anthony. [more]

  • Memories For Snail

    Biologists report they have transferred a memory from one marine snail to another, creating an artificial memory, by injecting RNA from one to another. This research could lead to new ways to treat traumatic memories with RNA -- perhaps a traumatic memory could be altered -- and perhaps new ways to restore lost memories. Jeff and Anthony wonder if this technique could be used to help them forget their awkward teenage years. [more]

  • Twin Galaxies

    A new study from NASA has found that astronaut Scott Kelly's genes are no longer identical to those of his identical twin after spending a year in space. Preliminary results from NASA's Twins Study found that seven percent of Kelly's genes no longer match those of his twin, Mark. Scott Kelly spent one year aboard the International Space Station during the study, while his brother remained on Earth. Jeff and Anthony discuss how this story might have been mutated. [more]

  • Big Haply Family

    IN THE LAST 20 years, genealogy websites have attracted more than 15 million customers by promising insights into your past. It’s deeply personal, affecting stuff. But when your family tree contains thousands, millions, even tens of millions of people, it’s no longer a personal history. It’s human history. Recently, scientists from the New York Genome Center, Columbia, MIT, and Harvard scraped crowdsourced public records into family trees the size of small nations. Their analysis, which was published today in Science, includes the single largest known family tree, containing 13 million people. Your cousins Jeff and Anthony discuss this story. [more]

  • Bio Shock Intimate

    When Josiah Zayner watched a biotech CEO drop his pants at a biohacking conference and inject himself with an untested herpes treatment, he realized things had gone off the rails. Zayner is no stranger to stunts in biohacking—loosely defined as experiments, often on the self, that take place outside of traditional lab spaces. Most notoriously, he injected his arm with DNA encoding for CRISPR that could theoretically enhance his muscles—in between taking swigs of Scotch at a live-streamed event. So when Zayner saw Ascendance Biomedical’s CEO injecting himself on a live-stream earlier this month, you might say there was an uneasy flicker of recognition. Jeff and Anthony discuss the body mods they're most excited for. [more]

  • Macaque of the Clones

    For the first time, scientists say they created cloned primates using the same complicated cloning technique that made Dolly the sheep in 1996. Shanghai scientists created two genetically identical and adorable long-tailed macaques. Researchers used modern technology developed only in the last couple of years to enhance the technique used to clone Dolly, which is called somatic cell transfer. Jeff and Anthony giggle childishly at some of the funny sounding words. [more]

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