August 20, 2012 7:15 pm
For a few hundred dollars and a vial of spit, these companies will search your DNA for sequences that predict your physical traits, your response to certain drugs and your risk for any number of diseases. One such company, California-based 23andMe, is attempting to use the data to do something different: search for new genes linked to Parkinson’s disease. The company, which calls itself the world’s first genetics-based social network, has collected more than 125,000 DNA samples from customers. Criticism of direct-to-consumer genetics companies is nothing new. Many have questioned the ethics of delivering genetic information directly to the consumer, as well as the value and the accuracy of the genetic risks they report.
April 24, 2012 10:46 am
Conventional wisdom says that hardship can make us old before our time. In fact, a new study suggests that violence leaves long-term scars on children’s bodies — not just in bruises on the skin, but also altering their DNA, causing changes that are equivalent to seven to 10 years of premature aging. Scientists measured this cellular aging by studying the ends of children’s chromosomes, called telomeres, according to Idan Shalev, lead author of a study in today’s Molecular Psychiatry.
April 23, 2012 5:52 pm
Step aside, DNA—new synthetic compounds called XNAs can also store and copy genetic information, a new study says. And, in a “big advancement,” these artificial compounds can also be made to evolve in the lab, according to study co-author John Chaput of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.