A murderer with a ‘gene for aggression’ had his sentence cut short by a judge in Italy, even though the link between genes and bad behaviour is not well understood, least of all by the courts. It poses a tricky question; should genetics ever absolve criminals of blame for their actions?
Funguses are plant-like organisms that lack chlorophyll and can cause a large number diseases and problems for humans. But what makes people get fungal infections? Some scientists think the answers may lie in our genes.
Cheetahs are endangered animals and found in small numbers in the wild. They show an astonishing lack of genetic diversity, with different animals having almost identical sets of genes. Many researchers feel that this is the reason behind their dwindling numbers.
Theodosius Dobzhansky is known for his work on the population genetics of fruit flies. He studied the evolution of different fruit fly species and demonstrated the role that genetics played in evolution. His work gave rise to the modern evolutionary synthesis.
Genes that code for proteins aren’t the only kind of gene. There are thousands that code for microRNA, which are fundamental to gene regulation and cell health.
South Korea’s Hwang Woo-Suk is one of the most famous genetic scientists in the world. However, this fame is now largely due to his fall from grace for faking his stem cell research rather than any of his genuine achievements.
Chytrid is a fungus that has been decimating frog populations around the world and has driven a few species to extinction. Amphibians in captivity can be cured with antifungal chemicals, but there isn’t any help for animals in the wild. So scientists are trying to work out how the fungus operates.
Typhoid fever is an illness caught by consuming food or drink contaminated with the bacteria Salmonella typhi. Finding out exactly which genes the organism needs to survive could speed up the development of new ways to tackle one of the major causes of disease in the developing world.
Potato bugs are still a blight on the world’s most popular vegetable. However, genetics research is coming to the rescue. Could bacterial, viral and fungal potato infection be having their chips?
Science is beginning to discover that high fructose corn syrup may have negative effects on the human protein leptin. Too much HFCS can lead to a condition known as leptin resistance, which prevents the human brain from properly controlling hunger. Leptin resistance is associated with weight gain.