DNA is the code of life, and so advances that allow us to edit that code have unlocked vast potential, from simply editing away the buggy code of disease, to engineering animals that don’t spread illness, to, maybe one day in a distant future, creating so-called designer babies. But editing another essential molecular component of our biology—RNA, the cells to turns DNA instructions into proteins—also holds great promise

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Maybe you got one of those find-your-ancestry kits over the holidays. You’ve sent off your awkwardly-collected saliva sample and now you’re awaiting your results. If your experience is anything like that of me and my mom, you may find surprises — not the dramatic “switched at birth,” but results that are really different than you expected

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The diagnostics company Myriad Genetics introduces a DNA test that could reveal a woman’s risk even if she doesn’t have one of the gene variants now associated with the disease

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DNA Has Gone Digital

December 8, 2017

What could possibly go wrong? Biology is becoming increasingly digitized. Researchers like us use computers to analyze DNA, operate lab equipment and store genetic information. But new capabilities also mean new risks – and biologists remain largely unaware of the potential vulnerabilities that come with digitizing biotechnology

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People are starting to alter their own DNA with cheap, easy gene-editing technology. Is it time to regulate CRISPR?

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The Secret to Long Life?

November 14, 2017

It May Lurk in the DNA of the Oldest Among Us. James Clement has scoured the globe for supercentenarians, aged 110 and older, willing to contribute their genomes to a rare scientific cache

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Philip Ball writes, “There are now several companies offering to read your genes: 23andMe, Ancestry DNA, and Family Tree DNA are a few of the most prominent. You send them a saliva swab and cross their palm with silver, and back comes an analysis of your DNA.There are plenty of grounds for skepticism about the new business of personal genomics.”

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Promotional material prepared for the event bears the logos of the company and the Ravens with the message: “Purple and Black are in your genes — now find out what else is.” Orig3n is offering — for free — a test of four genes. These include the ACTN3 gene, which the firm says can yield information on whether a person “is likely to have enhanced performance in power and sprint activities or is considered normal.”

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