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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...
January 27, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Blue-eyed people have been living in Europe for at least 7,000 years, scientists have discovered. A man who lived on the Iberian peninsula before Europeans became farmers probably had blue eyes but dark hair and skin, according to scientists who have sequenced his DNA. This surprising combination of eye, hair and skin coloring may have not have been unusual during his lifetime, but it is no longer seen among modern Europeans, the team reported ...
January 21, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Fish don't have fingers, but they could. That conclusion, drawn by a team of researchers in Switzerland, casts new light on the evolution of four-legged land vertebrates, suggesting that a flick of a switch could have repurposed the bony radials of fins to become the fingers and toes of land-based animals. The DNA programming architecture necessary to create such digits was present in the ancient genome of fish, before the emergence of amphibians, according to the researchers, who published their findings Tuesday in the online journal PLOS Biology.
January 19, 2014 | By Luke Glowacki
Do genes make us do it? The idea that human behavior is driven by genes makes many people uncomfortable, and nowhere is the dispute more bitter than when discussing the biological underpinnings of violence. The war of ideas over violence and human nature has raged since the 1600s, when philosopher Thomas Hobbes first speculated that the "natural condition of mankind" was one of violence and conflict. In the 1700s, Jean-Jacques Rousseau saw things differently. Enthralled with accounts of the New World, he argued that civilization, not nature, shaped the human propensity for violence.
November 11, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
Cocaine use may not make you a better dad, but it may make your son a bit more resistant to addiction, says a new study conducted on rats. Compared with the pups of rats who got no cocaine, the male offspring of rats that were allowed to self-administer cocaine for two months behaved very differently under the influence of the drug. When they got repeated doses of cocaine, rats sired by undrugged fathers responded with an escalating frenzy of movement - in rats, a sign of incipient addiction.
November 4, 2013 | By Lauren Beale, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Elon Musk, who heads electric-car company Tesla Motors, has shelled out $6.75 million on the former Gene Wilder estate in Bel-Air, property records show. That's a lot of clams for a cracked driveway. [Updated 10:59 a.m. PST Nov. 5: The sellers are financier Paul Kessler and his wife, attorney and businesswoman Diana Derycz-Kessler, who invest in real estate. ] The three-quarter-acre promontory home, overlooking the 13th green and 14th fairway of the Bel-Air Country Club, was described in the listing as an “opportunity to develop a view property.” The existing ranch-style home of 2,800 square feet has three bedrooms and 4.5 bedrooms.
October 12, 2013 | By Lance Pugmire
Rock 'n' roll legends Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the band KISS have cut back their concert schedule to about 70 shows a year now. Stanley is finishing his autobiography. The pair are opening a chain of restaurants/bars. And they're anticipating the start of the Arena Football League season, where the new team they own, the L.A. KISS, will debut at the Honda Center in Anaheim. In video interviews with The Times this week at the Ducks' home opener at Honda Center, Simmons and Stanley discussed their vision and hopes for the team.
October 9, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Scientists have discovered two gene mutations that they believe are associated with an increased risk of eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia often run in families, but these eating disorders are complex, and it has proved difficult  to identify the paths. But, using two families with very high incidences of eating disorders, scientists say they found rare mutations, one in each family, that were associated with the people who had the disorders. The study suggests that mutations that decrease the activity of a protein that turns on the expression of other genes - called a transcription factor - increase the risk.
September 26, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Examining the molecular profiles of tumors from 12 different types of cancers, scientists working with the National Institutes of Health-backed Cancer Genome Atlas said Thursday they had found striking similarities between tumors originating in different organs. Their discoveries, made possible by improvements in sequencing technologies and computing methods, could herald a day when cancers are treated based on their genetic profiles, rather than on their tissue of origin, said UC Santa Cruz biomolecular engineer Josh Stuart , a participant in the project and coauthor of a commentary discussing its findings released Thursday by the journal Nature Genetics . Eventually, such a shift in thinking could lead researchers to new treatments for hard-to-treat cancers, Stuart said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
September 21, 2013 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Three decades ago, when so many of his friends were dying of AIDS, Stephen Crohn wondered why he - a gay man whose longtime companion had been one of the first to die from the disease--had managed to avoid it. Was it just a matter of time before he caught the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS? Was there something wrong with the HIV antibody tests he took that always came back negative? Crohn, an artist and freelance editor, lived with the questions for 14 years before he finally learned the answer was in his genes.
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