Category archives: Genetics

Losing genes can be good, hummingbirds are a nice example

Losing genes can be good, hummingbirds are a nice example

BiologyGenetics

By Invited Researcher

Author: Ramón Muñoz-Chápuli has been Professor of Animal Biology in the University of Málaga until his retirement. He has investigated for forty years in the fields of developmental biology and animal evolution. Hummingbirds are fascinating animals. They are the only birds able to true hovering and backward flight. This ability allows them to collect nectar […]

A single gene might be responsible for the bigger brain of modern humans

A single gene might be responsible for the bigger brain of modern humans

EvolutionGeneticsNeurobiology

By Rosa García-Verdugo

We, humans, have evolved pretty big brains compared to other mammals, and even compared to our primate cousins. Recent research seems to have found the reason for the higher number of neurons in our brains (about 86 billion). It appears that a single gene is responsible for our bigger brain. The Neanderthals are an extinct […]

A founder event left its genetic mark in Ashkenazi Jews

A founder event left its genetic mark in Ashkenazi Jews

AnthropologyArchaeologyEthicsGeneticsHistory

By Invited Researcher

About two-thirds of Jews today – or about 10 million people – are Ashkenazi, referring to a recent origin from Eastern and Central Europe. They reside mostly in the United States and Israel. Ashkenazi Jews carry a particularly high burden of disease-causing genetic mutations, such as those in the BRCA1 gene associated with an increased […]

A blinding mutation that might increase intelligence

A blinding mutation that might increase intelligence

GeneticsNeuroscience

By Rosa García-Verdugo

How to breed more intelligent humans? This is a difficult question, one which raises numerous issues, both ethical and scientific. Would you give your eyesight away to become brighter? As crazy as this question may sound, a blinding mutation might increase intelligence. The CORD7 (cone-rod dystrophy 7) mutation of the RIMS1 gene produces progressive blindness […]

Unexpected effects of gene editing: aggressive hamsters

Unexpected effects of gene editing: aggressive hamsters

Genetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

In the last years, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionized gene editing, having enormous research and clinical potential. However, gene editing can be tricky and have unexpected effects, like recently reported in the journal PNAS , where tweaking a gene produced aggressive hamsters instead of the calm, Zen animals the researchers were aiming for. Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) and […]

Healing from the skin: the first topical gene therapy is out

Healing from the skin: the first topical gene therapy is out

BiomedicineGenetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

One of the biggest difficulties of bringing new therapeutic methods into clinical practice is targeted delivery. A recent study shows the potential of using a gel for topical gene therapy. Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is a genetic disease that affects proper skin formation. The affected people have an extremely fragile skin, which often suffers from […]

Cod ‘supergenes’ reveal how they are evolving in response to overfishing

Cod ‘supergenes’ reveal how they are evolving in response to overfishing

BiologyEvolutionGenetics

By Invited Researcher

Cod “supergenes” have shed light on how they respond to overfishing, and these supergenes could make them more resilient to other environmental changes. That’s according to a new study published by scientists in Norway. This could be good news, in that cod have genetic architecture in place that will permit them to respond to climate […]