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Genetic Linkage

The Denisova Genome and Guys Banging Rocks

A Neandertal and Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (photo credit)
As a textbook author, I often have to evaluate new research and predict whether it will stand the test of time. I’m a skeptic. But when Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and his colleagues introduced a new member of the human family in 2010 based on a preliminary genome sequence from a finger bone found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, with few other clues, I included her in my book. She was the first discovered Denisovan (pronounced “Denise-o-van”).  Read More 
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Sex and the Single Slime Mold

When their bacterial food is scarce, single Dictyostelium cells send signals drawing thousands of cells together, forming a mobile slug. (Wikipedia).
Among the scintillating science headlines this week was a report on the sex life of the sea slug Siphopteron quadrispinosum in PLoS One, complete with a compelling photograph of the dually-endowed hermaphrodites caught in the act. The slugs are too violent for  Read More 
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Like a Game of “Clue,” Genomics Tracks Outbreak, Revealing Evolution in Action

Genome sequencing traced a deadly bacterial outbreak at the NIH Clinical Center in June 2011.
Was it Colonel Mustard in the library with a lead pipe? Or Mrs. Peacock in the ballroom with a candlestick? No, it was deadly, drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae from a 43-year-old woman spreading to 17 other patients, killing 6 of them and sickening 5 others, at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Clinical Center in June 2011.

In  Read More 
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Hidden Meanings in Our Genomes – And What To Do With Mendel

Gregor Mendel: should he stay or should he go (in textbooks)? (National Library of Medicine)
Summer reading for most people means magazines, novels, and similar escapist fare, but for me, it’s the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG). Perusing the table of contents of the current issue tells me what’s dominating this post-genomic era: information beyond the obvious, like a subtext hidden within the sequences of A,  Read More 
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Guest Blog: "I'm in the ACT Stem Cell Trial for Stargardt Disease!"

Maurie Hill, after receiving retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia on July 11.
I am thrilled to introduce Maurie Hill, who is having her Stargardt disease (a form of early-onset macular degeneration) treated with retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. I was going to write about her experience (and I will), but she is a great writer, and she and the Ai Squared Blog are sharing her story here. Welcome Maurie! Read More 
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