If dressing your Christmas tree and stringing all of those lights has become a bit tedious, scientists in England want to end that ritual by developing a self-glowing Christmas tree using genes spliced from jellyfish and fireflies.
A growing body of evidence is suggesting that genetics has a subtle but measurable influence on our political views. While our genes can't fill out our ballots for us, the relative position of a person on a liberal to conservative scale may be somewhat predictable through genes. This is called genopolitics.
Having a genetic disease means that there's something wrong with your DNA. Somewhere, in those millions of base pairs, even the simplest mutation (or mis-coding) in a gene can cause all sorts of serious problems, and since the problem is at such a basic level, it's impossible to fix without rewriting the essence of what makes you you. And we can now do that.
It might be time to get Gattaca-level paranoid about leaving your DNA all over the place, as geneticists are getting closer to being able to determine what your face looks like simply by analyzing your genetic code.
These blobs are Mycoplasma genitalium, a bacterial parasite which lives in your naughty bits and makes it burn when you pee. Scientists at Stanford and the J. Craig Venter Institute have honored this monster by making it the first complete organism to have its entire genome modeled inside a computer program.
Rayfish Footwear is a company from Thailand that claims to be able to genetically engineer stingrays with customized colors and patterns that it then uses to make shoes. It's a futuristic, dramatic, and perhaps ethically questionable way of designing clothing— we're just not quite sure whether it's real or not.
You know those eyes in the back of you're head you've always wanted? Geneticists have now figured out how to get tadpole embryos to grow any organ, anywhere in their bodies.
HIV has resisted attempts for a vaccine for three decades, and despite vastly improved ways to treat the condition, two million people still get infected every year. A new gene therapy technique has been shown to provide complete protection from HIV in mice with humanized immune system, and the same thing should work in humans, too.
The first human genome cost $3 billion to sequence back in 2003. By 2009, the cost to sequence someone's genome had dropped to more like $50,000. Next year, the target is a mere $1,000, and it'll only take two hours to completely identify all six billion of the base pairs in your DNA to tell you what you're likely to die from first.
No matter how many mosquitoes trapped in amber you find, you're not going to get any dinosaur DNA out of them, Jurassic Park or no Jurassic Park. Luckily, you don't really need dinosaur DNA to make a dinosaur; you can just take a chicken and devolve it by 100 million years or so, giving it a tail, pointy teeth, and yes, even large talons.