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SCIENCE
April 9, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
New research suggests the Internal Revenue Service should expand the list of acceptable explanations for procrastinators' yearly extension requests and late tax filings. Two possibilities: "I was born this way" and "failure to evolve. " Procrastination, suggests a new study, is an evolved trait that likely served humans well in a time when finding food and water and fending off prey were job one. For man in the state of nature, pondering lofty goals for an indistinct future was sure to result in an early demise.
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SCIENCE
August 16, 2013 | By Melissa Pandika
What makes a female turkey swoon? The secret isn't better genes, but better use of them, according to a new study. In most cases, the more masculine a male's physical traits, the more attractive he is to females. But why are some males more masculine than others, even when they're brothers with similar DNA? Could the answer have to do with epigenetics: how genes are expressed -- turned on or turned off -- in different individuals? Researchers at Oxford University and University College London turned to wild turkeys to answer the question, because the males come in two types.
SCIENCE
April 29, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan, This post has been corrected, as noted below
Honeybees that live off the same sweetener found in soft drinks could be more vulnerable to the microbial enemies and pesticides believed to be linked to catastrophic collapse of honeybee colonies worldwide, a new study suggests. Researchers identified a compound found in the wall of plant pollen that appears to activate the genes that help metabolize toxins, including pesticides, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Although pollen winds up in the honey produced by Apis mellifera , these bees used to pollinate crops spend more time sipping on the same sugar substitute that is ubiquitous in processed foods - high-fructose corn syrup.
NEWS
April 4, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Alzheimer’s, the brain disease that saps away not just memories but, gradually, identity, is now a little less mysterious. In two large studies of more than 54,000 people, scientists have found five new genes linked to the disease.  Think of the genes as clues to the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s. Those causes are still unknown, but scientists have long suspected they involve tangled strands of protein and protein plaque in the brain. Some of the most recently discovered genes add evidence that cholesterol plays a role in the disease, others that inflammation of the brain is an important player.
NEWS
April 9, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
One complaint leveled against genome studies is that they don't survey a broad enough swath of humankind. Though many projects have searched DNA collected from people of European descent -- hoping to ferret out which changes in what parts of the genome are linked to this disease or that -- fewer have investigated the genomes of other ethnic groups.  In 2011, Stanford University geneticist and MacArthur "genius" grant recipient Carlos Bustamante discussed...
SCIENCE
January 29, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Mating between Neanderthals and the ancestors of Europeans and East Asians gave our forebears important evolutionary advantages but may have created a lot of sterile males, wiping out much of that primitive DNA, new genetic studies suggest.  The comparison of Neanderthal and modern human genomes, published online Wednesday in the journals Nature and Science , identified specific sequences of altered DNA that both Neanderthals and several...
NEWS
November 28, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
A new genetic test may help determine whether a small tumor in the breast is likely to turn in to full-blown breast cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The small tumor, called a ductal carcinoma in-situ, or DCIS, resides in the milk ducts and is generally considered pre-cancerous. But according to the study, DCIS lesions left untreated will eventually progress to breast cancer in about 50% of patients. The lesions, which tend to be small and only detectable via mammogram, have become increasingly common as mammography has become more widespread.
SCIENCE
June 13, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The U.S. Supreme Court decision that Myriad Genetics cannot patent two genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer came as welcome relief to researchers whose work on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes had been thwarted by legal challenges from the company. But while researchers and clinicians no longer will receive cease-and-desist orders from Myriad, they will have to labor for years to catch up with the data and analysis the Utah-based company has been able to accumulate during the 17 years it held a U.S. monopoly on analyzing the genes, said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla.
NEWS
October 19, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
In a one-on-one interview Tuesday, ABC's Jake Tapper confronted President Obama about his administration's stalled jobs bill, his reelection chances and the simmering "Fast and Furious" scandal. Oh, and his gray hair. "When you get haircuts, it goes away," Tapper said during some casual banter before launching into meatier topics. "Exactly," Obama said. "That's why people think, somehow, that [I'm] dying my hair. It depends on where the lights are hitting it. " "I don't know if it [is]
NEWS
September 6, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots Blog
Ten years after terrorists hijacked four American jetliners and killed nearly 3,000 people, there's growing evidence that people with a previous history of depression, or who have been traumatized before, are far more vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those without such histories. A new study suggests why, and supplies yet more evidence that genes play a powerful role in influencing who develops post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic event and who doesn't.
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