By Ann GibbonsJun. 25, 2018 , 11:10 AM Being smart is a double-edged sword. Intelligent people appear to live longer, but many of the genes behind brilliance can also lead to autism, anxiety, and depression, according to two new massive genetic studies. The work also is one of the first to identify the specific cell types and genetic pathways tied to intelligence and mental health, potentially paving the way for new ways to improve education, or therapies to treat neurotic behavior. The studies provide some of the first “hard evidence of the many genes and pathways” that work together in complex ways to build smart brains and keep them in balance, says geneticist Peter Visscher of the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who was not involved in the work. Researchers have long known that people often inherit intelligence and some personality disorders from their parents. (Environmental factors such as education and stress also … [Read more...] about Hundreds of new genes may underlie intelligence—but also autism and depression
New link genetics
Briefing 7 December 2017 By Andy CoghlanTwo gene variants have been found to be more common in gay men, adding to mounting evidence that sexual orientation is at least partly biologically determined. How does this change what we already knew? Didn’t we already know there were “gay genes”?in a study of gay and straight brothers in 2014. However, these studies didn’t home in on any specific genes on this chromosome. What’s new about the latest study? Advertisement What genes did they find and what do they do?differing in size between gay and straight men. This was discovered by neuroscientist Simon LeVay, who says he is excited that the gene discovery seems to fit with what he found. Other research has found that this gene, called SLITRK6, is active in the hypothalamus of male mice fetuses a few days before they are born. “This is thought to be a crucial time for sexual differentiation in this part of the brain,” … [Read more...] about What do the new ‘gay genes’ tell us about sexual orientation?
Perhaps you missed the news that the price of hummus has spiked in Great Britain. The cause, as the New York Times reported on February 8: drought in India, resulting in a poor harvest of chickpeas. Far beyond making dips for pita bread, chickpeas are a legume of life-and-death importance—especially in India, Pakistan, and Ethiopia where 1 in 5 of the world’s people depend on them as their primary source of protein. As global climate change continues, scientists expect more droughts, heat stress and insect pests—creating need for new varieties of agricultural plants with diverse qualities that will let them cope and adapt to quickly changing conditions. Where could those novel traits come from? “The wild relatives of crop plants are the most promising reserves of genetic diversity,” say Eric Bishop von Wettberg, a plant biologist at the University of Vermont. He led a new research effort that took a deep look at the ecology and genetics of … [Read more...] about Genetic Limits Threaten Chickpeas, a Globally Critical Food
In a recent blog post, Recombinant communications: The new 'genetics' of enterprise communications, I drew parallels between the impacts of genetic engineering and how the application programming interface (API) economy and as-a-service industries are changing the enterprise communications market. A set of techniques that are gaining increasing numbers of adherents among software developers in other industries is similarly providing new “genetic” material that also promises revolutionary changes. The innovation framework DevOps, microservices and containers are the tools and constituents of this new “genetic” engineering in the software world. As I started to conceive this post I imagined a single article. As the writing unfolded, it became clear that because of the breadth of these converging trends it would be better to break my argument in two. Here is part one.Defining DevOpsSince many of us don’t code for a living and may not be familiar, … [Read more...] about Software development genetics, part 1: DevOps, lean, agile
US public officials are blaming a Salmonella outbreak on an unlikely source: kratom, a plant known for its opiate-like effects. The outbreak began in October, and by the end of January, infections cropped up from California to Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, no one has died from this latest outbreak, but 11 people have been hospitalized. The CDC reports that it’s confirmed 28 people in 20 states have contracted the strain of Salmonella, which gives people diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Public health investigators discovered that the cases were linked when they sequenced the DNA of Salmonella samples collected from the patients. The bacteria were genetically related, which means that the patients probably all contracted Salmonella from the same place. Public health investigators interviewed the patients, and discovered that several had recently taken kratom in pill, tea, or powder form. The CDC hasn’t tracked the … [Read more...] about Kratom supplements have a new side effect: Salmonella