Why 6 fingers per hand are better than 5

Some people around the world have polydactyly, meaning that they are born with extra fingers on their hands or extra toes on their feet. Some doctors may refer to this as a “malformation,” but does polydactyly actually bring benefits to an individual? Some people with polydactyly can use just one hand to perform tasks for […]

Genetics Gout

Gout: Why the stigma?

To some, gout sounds like a medieval condition consigned to the history books; the name has an almost comical ring to it. In reality, gout is incredibly painful and surprisingly common. Here, we ask why no one is talking about gout. People rarely discuss it, but gout can significantly affect quality of life. Gout is […]


Dog ownership could be down to genes

The choice to own a dog has a strong genetic element, according to new research. A new study suggests that genes may govern our decision to own a dog. A study of more than 35,000 pairs of twins from Sweden examined the extent to which people’s genetic makeup corresponded to whether or not they owned […]


Nature vs. nurture: What fuels obesity, diabetes?

Our environment and lifestyle can affect the function of our genes without altering the genetic code. A review article summarizes research over the past decade showing how this contributes to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Does lifestyle affect how our genes behave? Nature versus nurture is a phrase with which many of us are familiar. […]


Designing an antidote for world’s most venomous jellyfish

While investigating box jellyfish venom, researchers in Australia may have stumbled upon a potential antidote. The Australian box jellyfish is one of nature’s most toxic inventions.Image credit: Jamie Seymour The Australian box jellyfish is the owner of a terrifying chemical arsenal; scientists consider it to be one of the most venomous animals on earth. Each […]

Genetics Lung Cancer

Could invigorating the immune system prevent lung cancer?

Scientists have identified biological changes in apparently normal airway tissue that could potentially predict the development of lung cancer. The changes alter gene and cell activity in the immune system. New research suggests that boosting the immune system could protect the lungs against cancer. A team from Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts led […]


Looking for beauty in your DNA

What is the genetic basis for facial attractiveness? A new study investigates. Scientists are exploring the genes behind facial beauty. Few would argue that being considered attractive is a social advantage. Studies have shown that people who are deemed attractive are more likely to get better jobs, perform better academically, and make more money. One […]