Biology Genetics Health 

Depression: In Our Genes or All In Our Heads?

By Mary McMillan (@maryemcmillan) World Health Organization estimated that more than 300 million people around the world are currently affected by depression. That’s just over 4 percent of the world’s population. Despite how serious this disorder is and the huge numbers of people that suffer from it, there is still a lot of stigma associated with having depression, and people often misunderstand what causes it (Jorm, 2000). You may have heard people say that depression is all in someone’s head and that they should just get over it. However, scientists…

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Biology Genetics 

Most of the Human Genome Isn’t Being Actively Studied

By Katherine Lindemann Career incentives drive researchers away from understudied genes that could be important to human health. There are around 20,000 human protein-coding genes, but recent studies have suggested scientists actively study only about 2,000 of them. New research investigates why some genes are studied over and over again, while others are neglected. Its authors found that a genes’ medical significance—how likely it is they play a role in human disease—doesn’t explain the discrepancy. Instead, while many researchers are interested in understudied genes, career incentives encourage scientists to focus on genes…

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Biology Videos 

Is Height All In Our Genes?

Dr. Joe Hanson is tall. Most of the people in his family are tall. Does that mean his son will be tall? Turns out the inheritance of height is a lot more complicated than we thought. Scientists know that nature (genes) and nurture (environment) both play a role, but after more than a century of questions, we’re only just now starting to get some answers. In this episode of It’s Okay to Be Smart, learn how the average height of humans changed over time due to agriculture, migration, and industry.…

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GMOs and the Risk to Our Genetic Heritage Biology Environment 

GMOs and the Risk to Our Genetic Heritage

By Alex Taylor In 2001, high in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca mountains of southern Mexico, UC Berkeley graduate student David Quist hiked along some of the world’s oldest cornfields. Quist was sampling cobs for DNA testing, and what he found kicked off a scientific firestorm and brought attention to a subtle threat to the future of global agriculture. In those ancient Mexican corn varieties, Quist detected the DNA signature of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A living genetic repository Hike down those Oaxacan mountains and into village marketplaces, and you…

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How Do Big Sharks Beat Cancer? Animals Biology Health Oceanography 

How Do Big Sharks Beat Cancer?

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Wouldn’t it be great to have the power to rapidly heal from injuries or to resist cancer? A human with those coveted abilities might be viewed as the stuff of superhero fantasy. However, there are animals on earth that are known for rapid healing and cancer resistance—sharks. Could we possibly learn how sharks do it and copy them? Scientists from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) have unveiled the results of a new genomics study of shark DNA. The study of great white and great hammerhead shark DNA…

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