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Posts Tagged "genomics"

The Artful Amoeba

Amborella, the Ancient Shrub with the Hoard of Foreign Genes


Amborella is a humble shrub with a noble pedigree: it is the first plant to have split from the rest of the flowering plants after their evolution that has survived to the present day. Its rather rudimentary-looking flowers and evergreen leaves may be testimony to that fact. This wasn’t known until relatively recently, though, partly because the plant dwells on only one island in the world — Grand Terre in the remote French archipelago of New Caledonia in the South Pacific — and partly because it was only when we got a look at its DNA that we could see this.

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You wanted to know: what is this virus that infects the phytoplankton? (Part One)

So far I’ve told you about the phytoplankton we’re studying — the coccolithophores, how we figure out where they’re going to be, and how we collect them. But there’s a key element that’s missing in this description: the virus that infects them. And a lot of you wanted to know about it. What kind of [...]

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Food Matters

How to Study a Complex Microbial World – Part 3: Genes to Genomes

The 16S profile of human skin [Image from Wikimedia Commons]

In part 1 of this series, I talked about what DNA sequencing is, and why it’s an important tool. In part 2, I explained some of the technologies that scientists are currently using to actually “read” the letters of DNA sequences from organisms. In this final piece, I’ll explain how we go from reads of [...]

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Guest Blog

How Identity Evolves in the Age of Genetic Imperialism

Image: Wildpixel/iStock/Thinkstock

From designer babies to women whose genitals smell like peaches, 2014 graced us with a taste of the hope, hype and superficiality of business as usual in Silicon Valley. It is tempting to listen to those who tell us that there is a gene-hack to solve every “problem”—that DNA is just a code to personalize [...]

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Guest Blog

We’re All X-Men as Far as Genetic Mutations Go

x-men 1

“Mutants became objects of fear and hatred.” — Kitty Pryde narrating in the story “Days of Future Past” found in The Uncanny X-Men #141 in January 1980 “In her DNA they found the key to her mutant power.” — Professor X musing about how Mystique was used to derive special powers for the Sentinel army [...]

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Massive Genomics Center Set to Open in Lower Manhattan


NEW YORK—For a spot news junkie, the sight of a podium-studded dais surrounded by people holding up recording devices is irresistible, especially on a hot summer day. So, I was delighted to happen this morning upon such a press conference on my way to the Scientific American office. The event was held to announce a [...]

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1 Big Migration Spawned Most–but Not All–Indigenous Americans

genomics show wave of first american migrations

At least 15,000 years ago intrepid Siberians crossed the newly exposed Bering land bridge to arrive in the unpeopled Americas. But was this influx the only ancient wave from East Asia? Researchers have been studying archeological, linguistic and genetic evidence for years in a quest to understand how the first Americans arrived and spread through [...]

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