Tag Archives | Genetics

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Couch potatoes born that way

Research from the University of Missouri (UM) indicates certain genetic traits may predispose people to being more or less motivated to exercise and remain active. In the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, UM veterinary researcher Frank Booth explains how he selectively bred rats that exhibited traits of either extreme activity or […]

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Leadership can be an inherited trait, study finds




Using a large twin sample, an international research team found that a quarter of the observed variation in leadership behaviors between individuals can be explained by genes passed down from their parents. The researchers, from University College London, Harvard, NYU, and the University of California, say they are the first to identify a specific DNA […]




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Breeder or worker? Scientists search for the genes that drive societies




In order understand the evolution of complex societies; researchers are sequencing the genomes of social insects to decipher which genes might be responsible for the division of labor and reproduction, two crucial characteristics that are important to the evolution of social structure. Published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study focuses on […]




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Doh! Scientists uncover Homer Simpson gene




Deleting a certain gene in mice (one that is also found in humans) makes them smarter, but the Emory University researchers who discovered this so-called “Homer Simpson gene” are cautious about its potential to enhance cognition in humans, saying that very little is known about the mysterious region of the brain the gene is linked […]




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Opium poppy gives up its genetic secrets




Codeine, usually synthesized from the morphine found in the opium poppy, is one of the world’s most commonly prescribed painkillers. But despite its widespread use, poppies are only grown as a commercial crop in a handful of countries, thus making many nations dependent on opiate imports. Now, however, researchers at the University of Calgary have […]




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Worm DNA preserved in tequila




Not swallowing the worm at the bottom of a bottle of mescal doesn’t mean you’ll avoid worminess, say scientists at the University of Guelph who have discovered that the mescal, far from destroying the DNA of the agave butterfly caterpillar, actually leeches it out of the worm and preserves it. Reporting their findings in the […]




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stressedblokedriving

Bad driving may be genetic




UC Irvine neuroscientists have found that people with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without it. Disturbingly, about 30 percent of the North American population has the variant. “These people make more errors from the get-go, and they forget more of what they learned after […]




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Genetics linked to placebo response




Placebos – sugar pills designed to represent “no treatment” in a clinical treatment study – work nearly as well as the actual medication for some people. Why this should be so remains a mystery, but researchers at UCLA believe they have found a possible explanation: genetics. Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a UCLA professor of psychiatry, and […]




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Immune system overdrive responsible for cold symptoms




The human rhinovirus (HRV) cops most of the blame for the sneezing and runny nose that we associate with the common cold, but in reality, it’s not the virus but its ability to manipulate our genes that causes the most annoying cold symptoms. Now, for the first time, researchers have revealed how HRV hijacks our […]




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