Genetics

The 23 pairs of human chromosomes. People who inherit two tall X chromosomes (bottom right) are much more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than people with one X and one short Y chromosome.

Why Do Women Get More Autoimmune Diseases? Study of Mice Hints at Answers

Four in five people with an autoimmune disease are women. New research points to an RNA molecule involved in silencing one of their X chromosomes as a potential culprit

Ice worms spend most of the day burrowing their way through the cold, dark interior of the glacier, coming to the surface only in the afternoon to feed on algae and bacteria.

This Eight-Day Festival Celebrates One of Alaska's Weirdest Worms

Welcome to the Cordova Ice Worm Festival, a quirky local tradition honoring the mysterious creatures that live in glacial ice

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

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

Sunlight illuminates a plaque in Charleston, South Carolina, honoring 36 likely enslaved people—ranging in age from 3 to over 50—whose remains were discovered in 2013.

A New Project Uses Isotopes to Pinpoint the Birthplaces of the Enslaved

In South Carolina, members of the local Black community are teaming up with scientists to produce a novel study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade

Monarch butterflies' signature white spots could help them fly—and inspire better drones.

Seven Scientific Discoveries From 2023 That Could Lead to New Inventions

Biologists learned lots about animals and plants this year, and their findings could inspire better robots, medicine and environmental technologies

Turquet’s octopus

Octopus DNA Reveals Clues to When the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Last Collapsed

Understanding the ice sheet's past could help researchers shed light on its future melting

Malus sieversii is a wild apple native to the mountains of southern Kazakhstan.

Saving the Apple's Ancient Ancestor in the Forests of Kazakhstan

Found in the Tian Shan mountains, <em>Malus sieversii</em> could hold the secret to making other species of the fruit more stress-resistant

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 &quot;chimera&quot; 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

Some species of kingfisher hunt for fish by diving head-first into the water as quickly as 25 miles per hour.

How Kingfishers Dive Head-First Into Water Without Getting Concussions

Thanks to a new genetic analysis of 30 kingfisher species, researchers are one step closer to understanding the birds' dramatic hunting style

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

Wildcats appear very similar to domestic cats, but they are slightly larger with longer legs.

Domestic Cats Could Breed Scottish Wildcats Out of Existence

Just a few decades of intermixing affected the DNA of all sampled modern wildcats, researchers say, suggesting the species may be "genomically extinct"

Researchers examined how key genes behave across the sea star body by&nbsp;staining genetic material with fluorescent labels.

A Starfish 'Body' Is Just One Giant Head, Study Finds

Genes associated with the torso are largely absent in a species of starfish, upending how scientists perceive these creatures

Gene-editing silkworms produced this spider silk.

Genetically Modified Silkworms Can Produce Spider Silk That's Stronger Than Kevlar

The sturdy, biodegradable fibers could one day be used for surgical sutures or armored vests

Mass Audubon&#39;s science coordinator Mark Faherty examines a horseshoe crab in Pleasant Bay, where he has conducted research on them for years.

New Synthetic Horseshoe Crab Blood Could Mean Pharma Won't Bleed the Species Dry

The “living fossils” have been vital for testing intravenous drugs, but a few large pharmaceutical companies are using a lab-made compound instead

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