DNA

The digital reconstruction of Emperor Wu's face (left), alongside a painting made of him from the 'Thirteen Emperors Scroll' (right).

See The Face of Emperor Wu, a Sixth-Century Chinese Ruler Brought to Life with DNA Analysis

Genetic analysis of DNA from his skeleton offers not only a first glimpse at his face, but also insight into his mysterious death

A Neanderthal skull on display at the Natural History Museum, London. Many modern humans have inherited around 1 to 2 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals and their close relatives, Denisovans.

Modern Indian People Have a Wide Range of Neanderthal DNA, Study Finds

Genomes of Indian people today reveal links to a prehistoric migration and a group of Iranian farmers, as well as several new sequences from the Neanderthal genome

Some researchers say that "bringing back" woolly mammoths could help protect frozen tundras by slowing the melting of permafrost.

Scientists Grow Elephant Stem Cells in Key Step Toward Woolly Mammoth 'De-Extinction'

The team's lofty goal of "resurrection" is still far from reality, but scientists say the advancement in understanding cells could help with elephant conservation

Remains of a stillborn infant with Down syndrome from the Iron Age, found in a 2,800-year-old house at the Las Eretas archaeological site in Spain.

DNA Reveals Presence of Down Syndrome in Ancient Society

The burials of infants with Down syndrome in Europe provide insight into how babies with genetic conditions were cared for in premodern times, according to a new study

Gene editing has produced a healthy "founder population" of pigs that are immune to a deadly virus called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, according to a new study.

Gene-Edited Pork Could Be Coming Soon to Your Dinner Plate

Scientists are using CRISPR technology to make pigs immune to a deadly virus—and they're hoping for FDA approval by early next year

A 2,000-year-old human skeleton found at the Jabuticabeira II burial site in Brazil.

DNA From 2,000-Year-Old Skeletons Hints at the Origins of Syphilis

In contrast to a common theory, new findings suggest Columbus-led expeditions may not have transported syphilis to Europe from the Americas, though they cannot disprove the claim with certainty

Casts of the ancient chewing gum pieces, which were found in Sweden and date to between 9,540 and 9,890 years ago.

Prehistoric Chewing Gum Reveals Diet, Oral Health of Stone Age Teenagers

From preserved DNA, researchers identified which plants and animals the young people would have eaten or used for making clothing—and they found one case of a severe gum infection

Colored scanning electron micrograph of a water bear, or tardigrade

How Are Tardigrades So 'Indestructible?' Scientists Finally Have an Explanation

The tiny animals nicknamed "water bears" can endure extreme conditions by entering a deep hibernation with a switch at the molecular level, a new study finds

To understand Elma's life, researchers cut her tusk lengthwise and took samples to study the elements present in the ivory.

Meet Elma, a Woolly Mammoth Who Roamed Far and Wide More Than 14,000 Years Ago

By analyzing a fossilized tusk, scientists have pieced together the animal's movements

Scientists produced the most complete catalog of marine microbe DNA yet, including data from the deeper zones of the oceans.

DNA From the Ocean's 'Twilight Zone' Could Lead to New Lifesaving Drugs, Scientists Say

Researchers catalogued the genes of more than 300 million groups of marine bacteria, viruses and fungi in hopes that the database could lead to breakthroughs in medicine, energy and agriculture

The 160-year-old pelt of the woolly dog Mutton in the Smithsonian’s collection

What Happened to the Extinct Woolly Dog?

Researchers studying the 160-year-old fur of a dog named Mutton in the Smithsonian collections found that the Indigenous breed existed for at least 5,000 years before European colonizers eradicated it

Genes that significantly increase risk of developing multiple sclerosis were introduced to northwestern Europe by herders who migrated from the east around 5,000 years ago.

Ancient DNA From Eurasian Herders Sheds Light on the Origins of Multiple Sclerosis

Genetic variants linked to the risk of MS were brought to Europe during a migration around 5,000 years ago, a new study finds—and they might have helped herders survive

An artist's depiction of a person carving a pendant from bones of a giant sloth roughly 25,000 to 27,000 years ago. Research this year suggested humans and the sloths lived in Brazil at the same time, strengthening evidence that our ancestors populated the Americas earlier than thought.

Thirteen Discoveries Made About Human Evolution in 2023

Smithsonian paleoanthropologists reveal some of the year’s most fascinating findings about human origins

Our ten most-read stories of the year featured the author of Anne of Green Gables, tiny penguins, Queen Charlotte and more.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2023

From the world's oldest dog to the real history behind "Oppenheimer," these were the magazine's most-read articles of the year

Early risers may be able to thank their Neanderthal ancestors.

Neanderthal DNA May Help Explain Why Some People Are Early Risers

A new study finds a link between Neanderthal DNA and modern human genes related to the internal body clock, or circadian rhythm

Electric eels can discharge up to 860 volts of electricity.

Eels Can Genetically Modify Nearby Fish With Their Electrical Pulses

In laboratory experiments, gene transfer occurred in 5 percent of zebrafish larvae that were near eels when they discharged electricity

Polar bears live in rugged, hard-to-reach places in the Arctic.

DNA Pulled From Paw Prints May Help Researchers Study Elusive Polar Bears

As rising temperatures threaten the Arctic mammals, scientists are turning to new, non-invasive methods to study them

Neanderthals have held our fascination ever since we first identified their remains.

Here's What We Know About Neanderthals So Far

Today, thanks to new artifacts and technologies, findings about our closest relatives are coming thick and fast

The monkey "chimera" with two sets of DNA at three days old. Some body parts appear tinted green, because the researchers marked the transplanted cells with fluorescent dye to trace what parts they developed into.

Scientists Created a Monkey With Two Different Sets of DNA

So-called "chimeric" monkeys could help scientists understand human diseases and aid in conservation efforts, but the research raises ethical questions

Contact between Europeans and Native Americans is recorded in the DNA of head lice.

When Did Humans Arrive in the Americas? Lice Help Answer That Head-Scratcher

A new analysis of the annoying critters shows when groups from Asia and Europe hitched rides on human hair and skin to arrive on our continent

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