Archives for category: Genetics and genomics

A twin study in Québec has raised the question of genetics and bullying again, with results that seem to show that relationship problems, victimization and rejection have a genetic root – but in the victims, not the bullies.

Around 2% of the population has a genetic variant that means they don’t produce under-arm odour – and these people often have dry rather than sticky earwax. However, 78% of them still buy deodorant.

People who have close relatives with epilepsy are much more likely to get migraines, and it seems like it’s all in their genes. Find out more…

Researchers at Harvard University have created 3-dimensional DNA building blocks that work like LEGO bricks, and have created over a hundred microscopic three-dimensional nanostructures, including honeycomb, letters and a tiny model of the space shuttle.

A rare inherited disease, called trimethylaminuria, means that the sufferer’s body fluids and breath smell of fish. This is because they cannot break down trimethylamine, which is naturally found in food, and it build up in their bodies.

You can make a living out of the science of smells, but it does have its downsides…

The genome of the Christmas tree hasn’t really changed in the last hundred million years – this explains why our Christmas trees look very similar to those in ancient fossils (though perhaps without the tinsel…)

Researchers from China, the US and Europe have sequenced  the genome of the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), a large juicy fruit, usually with pink or red flesh and dark pips that is grown throughout the world.

The team sequenced 20 different watermelons and created a draft genome, finding 23,440 predicted protein-coding genes, around the same number as in humans. They also identified three different C lanatus subspecies.

The paper was published in Nature Genetics.

The bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome is around five times the size of the human genome, and the total size is around 17 gigabase pairs. Researchers have found around 100,000 genes. The bread wheat genome is hexaploid, with three entire genomes (six sets of seven chromosomes) in each cell, as a result of crossbreeding.

Bread wheat accounts for more than a fifth of the calories eaten by people worldwide, and over 680 million tonnes of wheat are grown annually.

According to recent DNA studies from a team of researchers, the Romani people arose in India around 1500 years ago, earlier than previously thought. They then spread across Europe via the Balkans about 900 years ago.

Ethiopians can live and work more than a mile and a half above sea level without getting acute mountain sickness, despite breathing lower pressure air with lower levels of oxygen. This is because they have a gene adaptation that keeps their haemoglobin levels lower, reducing their risk of stroke. This is a different adaptation to that seen in Tibetans

Read the original article in PLoS Genetics.

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