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Your relatives are bacteria

When Charles Darwin’s famous book, “On the Origin of Species,” was published in 1859, it took science and society by storm. Coming on the heels of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, Darwin’s book catalyzed a veritable new industry of trying explaining the natural world, both to good and ill effect (for instance, the idea of evolution gave racists new ammunition in their efforts to discriminate against non-whites). To-date (save…

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DNA Project Aims to Make Public a Company’s Data on Cancer Genes

Anyone in the United States who wants to know if she has mutations in two breast cancer genes has little choice of where to be tested. One company alone has patents on the genes, and that company pretty much controls the market. On Monday, the Supreme Court will take up the issue of whether companies can own patents on genes. But there is another issue, often overlooked, that might make…

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Research marks a leap forward for DNA-based computers

Caltech researchers have produced the most sophisticated DNA-based computer yet, a wet chemistry system that can calculate the square roots of numbers as high as 15. The system is composed of 74 strands of DNA that make up 12 logic gates comparable to those in a silicon-based computer, the researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. But the system operates a little more slowly than a conventional computer: It takes…

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