A monarchist displays images of the Romanovs. Many Russians regard the Romanovs, canonized by the Orthodox Church in 2000, as martyrs.

Resurrecting the Czar

In Russia, the recent discovery of the remains of the two missing Romanov children has pitted science against the church

"Now it's off to the races," botanist Dave Erickson says of a project to barcode 250 species of plant life on Plummers Island.

Cracking the DNA Code

On a small island near Washington, D.C., Smithsonian researchers have found a genetic code that could revolutionize botany

Conventional wisdom held that only a huge stretch of DNA could function as a gene.  The discovery of an overlooked genetic entity upends that view.  Croce "was stunned."

High Hopes for a New Kind of Gene

Scientists believe that microRNA may lead to breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating cancer

A US Air Force Boeing 707 disturbs a colony of sooty terns during takeoff.

The Perils of Bird-Plane Collisions

When airlines want to investigate dangerous bird strikes against planes, they turn to the head of the Smithsonian’s Feather Identification Lab

Born with a disease that has robbed her eyesight, Alisha Bacoccini (being examined by surgeon Albert Maguire) is undergoing experimental gene therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.  If she weren't legally blind, says the 20-year-old massage therapist, she would want to be a forensic scientist.

Gene Therapy in a New Light

A husband-and-wife team's experimental genetic treatment for blindness is renewing hopes for a controversial field of medicine

Jocelyn Kaiser graduated from Princeton University with a degree in chemical engineering.  She now writes for Science magazine and is the author of Gene Therapy in a New Light, which appears in Smithsonian's January 2009 issue.

Jocelyn Kaiser on "Gene Therapy in a New Light"

For some people in the region (Chapel of All Saints, San Luis, Colorado), the DNA results have been a revelation.

The 'Secret Jews' of San Luis Valley

In Colorado, the gene linked to a virulent form of breast cancer found mainly in Jewish women is discovered in Hispanic Catholics


How Breast Cancer Genes Work

Though we may talk of cancer as one disease, skin cancer has little in common with pancreatic cancer and breast cancer is something else entirely

When it dives, the platypus closes its eyes, ears and nostrils and finds its food through electrical receptors in its bill that detect the movement of small prey.

On the Evolutionary Gold Mine Down Under

What the platypus and other Australian species reveal about genetics


Personal Genome Project

These holidays, give the people who have everything the one thing they don't: a map of their own DNA


How to Make a Dodo

Biologist Beth Shapiro has figured out a recipe for success in the field of ancient DNA research


First Vertebrate Species Description with a DNA Barcode

"As a kid I pictured myself as a scientist," says Reichs. "I never anticipated writing fiction."

On the Case

Kathy Reichs, the forensic expert who helped inspire the TV show "Bones," talks about homicides, DNA and her latest novel

Chart showing the increase in autism diagnosis

Aut Couture

The African American DNA Roots Project is a molecular anthropology study designed to match African American lineages with those in West Africa, a region from which many slaves were taken.

Family Ties

African Americans use scientific advances to trace their roots


Neanderthal Man

Svante Pääbo has probed the DNA of Egyptian mummies and animals. Now he hopes to decode the DNA of our evolutionary cousins


Last Page: The Wrath of Khan

Even IRS auditors will tremble in my presence

35 Who Made a Difference: James Watson

After DNA, what could he possibly do for an encore?

35 Who Made a Difference: Robert Langridge

His quest to peer into the essence of life no longer seems so strange


True or False? Extinction Is Forever

Researchers' efforts to clone the vanished Tasmanian tiger highlight the quandary of reviving long-gone creatures

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