UW News

genetics & DNA


January 25, 2017

‘Protective’ DNA strands are shorter in adults who had more infections as infants

chromosomes on a slide

New research indicates that people who had more infections as babies harbor a key marker of cellular aging as young adults: the protective stretches of DNA which “cap” the ends of their chromosomes are shorter than in adults who were healthier as infants.


January 17, 2017

When it comes to mating, fruit flies can make rational choices

Fruit flies

In a paper published Jan. 17 in the journal Nature Communications, researchers report that fruit flies — perhaps the most widely studied insect in history — show signs of rational decision-making when choosing a mate.


June 29, 2015

Researchers discover how petunias know when to smell good

Image of the common garden petunia

A team of UW biologists has identified a key mechanism plants use to decide when to release their floral scents to attract pollinators.


June 26, 2014

Nanopore technique rapidly decodes long DNA strands

nanopore sequencing

A low-cost technique may make DNA sequencing more convenient and less cumbersome, perhaps eventually replacing large lab machines with hand held devices.


February 10, 2014

Newly found tactics in offense-defense struggle with hepatitis C virus

Ram Savan lab window

People who are genetically equipped to stop hepatitis C viruses from turning off a type of interferon generally have a robust antiviral response. Findings on the mechanisms governing this ability suggest new avenues for treatment research.


January 29, 2014

Neanderthal lineages excavated from modern human genomes

Neanderthal Child

A fossil-free method of sequencing archaic DNA may provide insight into human evolution.


January 22, 2014

Gene therapy leads to robust improvements in animal model of fatal muscle disease

Childers and Bella

The experimental treatment restored muscle function and prolonged lives in animals with a condition similar to X-linked myotubular myopathy in children


January 15, 2014

DNA detectives able to ‘count’ thousands of fish using as little as a glass of water

Visitors stand looking through glass as sea animals swim by

A mere glass full of water from a 1.2 million-gallon aquarium tank is all scientists really needed to identify most of the 13,000 fish swimming there.


December 12, 2013

Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code

Genome scientist Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos.

Finding a second code hiding in the genome casts new light on how changes to DNA impact health and disease.


November 7, 2013

Cost-effective method accurately orders DNA sequencing along entire chromosomes

human chromosomes

The method may help overcome a major obstacle that has delayed progress in designing rapid, low-cost — but still accurate — ways to assemble genomes from scratch. It also may validate certain types of chromosomal abnormalities in cancer.


September 9, 2013

Gene for most common childhood cancer identified

stained ALL leukemia bone marrow cells

In children with this form of leukemia, damage to chromosome 9 removes part of a normal copy of the gene in question, and leaves the mutated copy unopposed.


August 12, 2013

Progress made in linking some forms of epilepsy to genetics

Some of the answers to the causes of epilepsy may be contained in human genes. Above are chromosomes that have been manipulated to have distinctive colors.

Some epilepsy patients who have both seizures and speech abnormalities share something else in common — mutations on the same gene.


July 3, 2013

Great ape genetic diversity catalog frames primate evolution and future conservation

Belinga, a great ape

A model of great ape history during the past 15 million years has been fashioned through the study of genetic variation in a large panel of humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.


June 20, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court decision to bar gene patents opens genetic test options

BROCA gene test

The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision June 13 to bar the patenting of naturally occurring genes opens up important clinical testing options for a variety of diseases.


May 14, 2013

DNA analysis unearths origins of Minoans, the first major European civilization

Illustration of the Bull-leaping Fresco from the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete

The maternal genetic information passed down through many generations of mitochondria is still present in modern-day residents of the Lassithi plateau of Crete.


April 3, 2013

Brain cell signal network genes linked to schizophrenia risk in families

illustration of hallucinations

The genetic variants disturb the functioning of the same brain signal receptors affected by hallucinogenic drugs.


March 29, 2013

Head-on collisions between DNA-code reading machineries accelerate gene evolution

Houra Merrikh Samuel Million-Weaver

Bacteria speed up their evolution by positioning specific genes along the route of expected traffic jams in DNA encoding. Collisions can result in mutations.


March 26, 2013

Gene therapy may aid failing hearts

Alya Red heart model

Scientists come closer to boosting heart muscle by powering its contractile machinery.