Genetics

Two Pints of Water Can Contain the DNA of Thousands of Fish

Two pints of water from a 1.2 million gallon tank were all that was needed to identify 13,000 fish

Hiroshi Nagashima and Hiromitsu Nakauchi aim to genetically engineer pigs that grow human organs.

Will Japanese Researchers Grow Human Organs Inside Pigs?

A controversial technique to develop body parts from stem cells may someday save countless lives, but will society allow it?

A tobacco hornworm caterpillar chowing down on a wild tobacco plant in the Great Basin Desert, Utah

Caterpillars Repel Predators With Second-Hand Nicotine Puffs

As far as spiders are concerned, caterpillars have a case of very bad breath

A new species of tapir, a herbivorous mammal, was discovered in the Amazon earlier this month.

A Recap of Our Five Favorite New Species of 2013

An owl, a cat, a dolphin, and of course the olinguito, are among this year's biggest new species finds

This 200 Million-Year-Old Plant Species Helps Explain the Origin of All Flowers

Of the 300,000 flowering plants known today, Amborella is the only one that directly traces back to the common ancestor of them all

Frozen seafood in the lab, ready for DNA testing.

The DNA Detectives That Reveal What Seafood You're Really Eating

Genetic sequencing allows scientists to uncover increasingly prevalent seafood fraud

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From our readers

We All Experience Smells Differently From One Another

A difference of a single amino acid on one gene can cause that person to experience a smell differently than someone with another amino acid

One of the ancient human fossils found in Spain's La Sima de los Huesos.

Scientists Just Sequenced the DNA From A 400,000-Year-Old Early Human

The fossil, found in Spain, is mysteriously related to an ancient group of homonins called the Denisovans, previously found only in Siberia

Baby Mice Can Inherit Fear of Certain Smells From Their Parents

But researchers are far from pinning down the mechanism by which this may be possible, or what specific roles epigenetics plays in human disease

Genetic testing of people with Caribbean ancestry reveals evidence of indigenous population collapse and specific waves of slave trade.

A History of Slavery and Genocide Is Hidden in Modern DNA

Genetic testing of people with Caribbean ancestry reveals evidence of indigenous population collapse and specific waves of slave trade

Some scientists think that our compatibility genes—the same genes that determine whether an organ transplant will take—play a role in sexual attraction.

We Know Your Genes Can Influence Your Health, But Can They Also Influence Who You Love?

The same genes that dictate whether or not you can accept an organ transplant may guide your choice in a romantic partner

Artist Nickolay Lamm’s depiction of a polar-grizzly hybrid

What Would a Cross Between a Polar Bear and a Grizzly Really Look Like?

As climate changes and Arctic sea ice melts, species shift habitats and may interbreed. Lamm digitally manipulates photographs to imagine these hybrids

Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Document Deep Dive: Francis Crick Explains the ‘Secret of Life’

In a heartfelt letter to his son, the scientist who helped discover DNA explains his earth-shattering findings

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The Scientist Comes to the Classroom

Partnerships that pair schools and working scientists are helping kids think about science—and science careers—in ways they never imagined

Eric D. Green is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The Work Is Only Beginning on Understanding the Human Genome

Ten years ago, scientists released a map of our genetic blueprint. But, as Eric D. Green explains, there are many more mysteries left to unravel

Eric D. Green is the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Eric Green — Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute

"Future Is Here" Featured Speaker

The shelled sea butterfly Hyalocylis striata can be found in the warm surface waters of the ocean around the world.

Amazing Sea Butterflies Are the Ocean’s Canary in the Coal Mine

These delicate and stunning creatures are offering Smithsonian scientists a warning sign for the world's waters turning more acidic

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg and her DNA-derived self-portrait.

Creepy or Cool? Portraits Derived From the DNA in Hair and Gum Found in Public Places

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg reconstructs the faces of strangers from genetic evidence she scavenges from the streets

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The Story of How An Artist Created a Genetic Hybrid of Himself and a Petunia

Is it art? Or science? With DNA, Eduardo Kac pushes the limits of creativity and ethics

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