Will DNA analysis begin to substitute for actuarial tables in wrongful death and disability cases?

In wrongful death cases and in cases involving permanent injuries that require a life-time to care, it is common for estimates to be made of the "value of the life" or "time needed for care" from actuarial tables that allegedly reflect the particulars of the plaintiff. However, with...

Even toxics can act as a generic selection factor in the environment

One of the themes of this blog has been that virtually anything present in the environment can act as a selection factor influencing the course of evolution. A recent study on fish and PCB's and dioxins illustrates this point. Unfortunately for humans, the end result is not necessarily positive or...

Although fire ants originated in the U.S. as the result of "imports" from South America, their spread to many other countries is from the U.S., new genetic assessment shows

Fire ants are a royal pain (literally and figuratively). Chemical pesticides and many other brews have tried to wipe them out, unfortunately without success. They are now colonizing many other countries. But, what is the origin of these new invasions? The aggressive, stinging fire ants ( Solenopsis...

Evolution is a complex process, just ask the Transylvanian naked-neck chicken

Prior posts have noted that selection factors that influence evolution can be highly variable, and sometimes surprising. It is not the simple "survival of the fitest" postulated by Darwin (who in fairness could not have known about many of the selection factors and processes described in these...

Adaptation to poison, evolution at work

Prior posts have noted the wide diversity of selection factors (well beyond Darwin's original thesis) that are able to influence evolution, or what individuals of a population will survive to procreate and define the nature of the future population. Among factors cited in previous posts were toxicants...

Transgenerational Epigenetic Effects Demonstrated in Animals to Occur From a Variety of Pollutants

Prior posts have discussed the interplay between DNA, the various forms of RNA, and proteins regarding gene "expression"; prior posts have also noted the process of methylation of genes [see Wikipedia - Methylation ], which often reflects the interface between life's experiences and genetic...

DNA Predicts Only a Few Disorders

Prior posts have noted that gene functioning can be modified by a number of processes, such as methylation. Recently animal tests have found that some of these modifications are passed on to off-spring even though no change is made to the gene itself, only to its expression. Prior posts have also noted...

More Studies are Focusing on the Types of Bacteria that are Part of all Humans

Prior posts have noted that a) for every 1 human cell there are 10 bacteria in or on our bodies; b) these bacteria are key to the digestion of our food, production of necessary nutrients, and disease prevention; c) the nature of our diet influences the make-up of bacterial colonies in our GI tract; d...