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Posts Tagged ‘genetics’

A Harvard professor has hatched a plan to bring back the Neanderthals—but he needs an “adventurous” female volunteer to deliver a knuckle-dragging bundle of joy.

A longer interview with George Church, the man proposing the experiment, can be read here.

 

via Wanted: ‘Adventurous’ Woman to Birth Neanderthal – Bringing Neanderthals back could save humanity, geneticist says.

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Epigenetics – YouTube.

 

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Changing/Choosing the Type of Ant Is Easy
(by manipulating simple chemicals during egg growth)

A facebook page entitled simply “Evolution” explains it thus: 
Is the reality of Captain America still far off? Putting it simply, yes. However, manipulating genes can unleash the ‘Super Soldier’ inside Ants

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Ants are famous for their teamwork, living in vast colonies in nests of fantastic sizes, with one colony in Australia even measuring 100km wide. The level of cooperation and organisation within colonies is incredibly complex with it often being likened to human organisation and as such is often studied as a base model to increase efficiency of human systems. 

This organisation relies on a number of key types or “castes” of ant as they are often called. Workers and soldiers continuously work to protect and feed their Queen, but some species also rely on a caste of ant known as ‘supersoldiers’. These ants protect the Queen by blocking the entrance to the colonies nest with their abnormally large heads.

Usually the caste of an ant is decided by the environment the egg grows in. Tiny changes to factors, such as temperature and nutrition, affect the individuals purpose within the colony. Dr. Abouheif and his team, from McGill University in Montreal, have discovered that the caste of an ant can be changed by altering the concentration of juvenile hormone in the egg.

This was tested in a number of species and even found that many species that didn’t naturally have the ‘supersoldier’ caste could produce this type of ant with the right amount of juvenile hormone added to an egg, at the right stage of development. The fact that species without the caste can naturally have it induced in them shows that organisms with common ancestors can be commonly affected to produce evolutionary significant changes, all through the interplay of relatively simple chemicals. 

This could mean that if similar relationships are found within other organisms, we could easily manipulate them to produce fantastic benefits for human kind such as fast growing and breeding crops in harsh conditions, which would help to end world hunger or if we could learn to reverse these relationships we may be able to reverse the rapid growth of cancerous cells potentially, curing one of the most deadly diseases known to man. JB

Abouheif, E. et al., 2012. Ancestral Developmental Potential Facilitates Parallel Evolution in Ants. Science, 335 (6064) pp. 79-82.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3561352.stm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16424096

via BBC Nature – Ants turned into ‘supersoldiers’.

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There’s a new newspaper in town; one well worth reading.
http://paper.li/ginasmith888/1300677486

via Gina Smith’s Genome Times..

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Blocking a specific receptor in mice eliminated pathological aggression. (!!) Humans have a corresponding receptor. This could be a game changer.

via Hulk smash? Maybe not anymore: Scientists block excess aggression in mice « Biosingularity.

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The comparison of the genome sequences of bonobo, chimpanzee, and human show that humans differ by approximately 1.3% from both bonobo and chimpanzee. Chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related, differing by only 0.4%.

Bonobo and chimpanzee territories in central Africa are close to one another and separated only by the Congo River. It has been hypothesized that the formation of the Congo River separated the ancestors of chimpanzees and bonobos, leading to these distinct apes. Examination of the relationship between bonobos and chimpanzees showed that there appears to have been a clean split and no subsequent interbreeding, which supports this hypothesis.

Despite the fact that on average the genomes of bonobos and chimpanzees are equally distant from human, analysis of the genome sequence of the bonobo revealed that for some particular parts of the genome, humans are closer to bonobos than to chimpanzees, while in other regions the human genome is closer to chimpanzees. Further research will determine whether these regions contribute in any way to the behavioural differences and similarities between humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos.

via Bonobo genome completed: The final great ape to be sequenced.

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Ian Kinnaird, 72, has a genetic marker inherited from his mother that traces his ancestry to an African lineage that has not been found before in Western Europe.

Researchers from Britain’s DNA, who carried out the tests, said the result meant that in genetic terms he was a “thoroughbred”, and could be described as the “grandson of Eve, or the grandfather of everyone in Britain”.

They were so surprised by the results that they phoned Mr Kinnaird, a widower who lives in the far north of Scotland, to break the news to him.

They told him his mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), passed through the female line, was 30,000 years old and only two genetic mutations removed from the first woman, while most men have a genome with around 200 mutations since the earliest humans.

Alistair Moffat, the historian and rector of St Andrews University, who was involved in setting up the DNA project, said: “It is an astonishing result and means he could have been in the ‘Garden of Eden’.

via Scottish lecturer found to be ‘grandfather of everyone in Britain’ – Telegraph.

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Most people will find it shocking to think we differ, genetically, from the Neanderthal by only .004 percent.

Over the last decade, I’ve made the case that current humans are of different species. I am always shocked when even the most brilliant among us rail against this idea. Most people fall back on the science of it, without allowing that we have been moving closer and closer to actually proving this point as we cracked the genome.

A majority of people react with great fear and talk about the possibilities of (what I call) gene-ism. Really, it will be a type of speciesism, based on your genetics. People are terrified of Nazi-style eugenics programs.

If the 4 different species exist even close to what I have mapped, then those who would be most likely to be screened out of the “human” sector, will be the most populous group, making it unlikely anything will happen with them. What may happen though, is that we make genetic science a commonly held piece of knowledge. Then, each person can tweak the next generation before they arrive to get rid of some of the undesirable traits.

As more and more people are genetically profiled, we are going to find that we are at least 4 different species. There are, most likely, �many more.

via Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species? – YouTube.

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