A hand pours liquid into a tube in a medical lab

Environmental DNA: How a tool used to detect endangered wildlife ended up helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Health & Medicine

Technology that can identify stray bits of genetic material in the environment can help scientists monitor human and animal health.

African American soldiers lined up in ranks during World War II

New technology could identify thousands of unknown soldiers who died in World War II

Science & Technology
a close up of a man with a beard swabbing his mouth.

Home DNA tests reveal more than we bargained for

A woman's hands hold a medical tube next to a small box.

Gene therapy is a game changer for medicine — but comes with a hefty price tag


Our Computers, Our Viruses, Our Selves

Arts, Culture & Media
DNA testing in The Hague

Cutting-edge DNA labs help identify people missing in conflicts and disasters


New technology, donated by the Dutch holding company Qiagen, enables scientists to better extract DNA from “even challenging bone samples. Ones that are decades old.”

A modern human skull (left) and a Neanderthal skull (right) at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Neanderthals went extinct, but many of us still carry around fragments of their DNA


“Everybody whose genetic roots are outside Africa are partly descended from Neanderthals,” one geneticist says.


Modern-day tribes still carry traces of colonial devastation in their DNA


European colonists to the Americas brought with them illnesses that devastated indigenous communities. New research explores this history in the genetic record.

White Rhino

Anti-poaching efforts may get a boost from a DNA database for rhino horn


With rhinos on the verge of extinction, conservationists are turning to novel efforts to prevent poaching. Enforcement agents in South Africa are now using a DNA database to help them identify the origins of seized rhino horn.

CRISPR is different from other gene editing techniques. It emerged from basic research into how bacteria fight off infections. Scientists realized they could use CRISPR to identify and cut apart specific DNA sequences in any cell.

A promising gene editing method causes ethical controversy


Even with good intentions and legitimate potential medical applications, gene research poses ethical debate and concern among scientists, many of whom have called for a worldwide moratorium on its use. That’s no different for a new method called CRISPR, which is splitting scientific opinion.