Tagged With genetics

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As a brown-eyed person, I've always been jealous of people with striking blue eyes, but it turns out there's a reason I never got that genetic gift: It comes from a select lineage. At one point in human history, everyone had brown eyes, until a single person developed the blue-eyed mutation. Every other blue eyed person is descended from that one common ancestor.

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With obesity on the rise, so too is the diet and weight loss industry, currently valued at US$70 billion in the US alone. But most of us are still confused about the factors that lead to weight gain. Three commonly attributed factors are our genes, our microbiome (gut bugs) and our energy intake (kilojoules). So let’s examine how much each of these is to blame.

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Genome.one sequences and interprets genomes to provide diagnoses to people affected by genetic diseases or who have a predisposition to specific genetic conditions. What separates them from the likes of 23andMe and Ancestry.com's services is that Genome.one's goal is to provide information that is meaningful in a clinical sense. At the recent AWS Summit held in Sydney, I spoke with Associate Professor Marcel Dinger, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and CEO of Genome.one, about the evolution of this field and how cloud computing has been an enabler as the company navigates the risks of using cloud systems for such personal data.

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Some people are dramatically better at activities like sports, music and chess than other people. Take the basketball great Stephen Curry. This past season, breaking the record he set last year by over 40 per cent, Curry made an astonishing 402 three-point shots -- 126 more than his closest challenger.

What explains this sort of exceptional performance? Are experts "born", endowed with a genetic advantage? Are they entirely "made" through training? Or is there some of both?

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Dog enthusiasts will frequently tell you that certain dogs have certain characteristics: Golden Retrievers are friendly, German Shepherds are protective, and Corgis are smarter than a fifth grader. But is a dog's breed really such a great predictor of its personality?

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If you're not seeing results in the gym, there are a lot of things you can tweak: your diet, your exercise schedule and the types of workouts you do, to name a few. But genetics is also a big factor. We've all had that thought on bad days: Maybe I'm just not cut out to succeed at this.