Gene

Tibetans Evolved to Survive Highlife, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 13, 2010   View Article

Most Tibetans are genetically adapted to life on the “roof of the world,” according to a new study.

The Tibetan Plateau rises more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. At such heights, most people are susceptible to hypoxia, in which too little oxygen reaches body tissues, potentially leading to fatal lung or brain inflammation.

To survive the high life, many Tibetans carry unique versions of two genes associated with low blood hemoglobin levels, the researchers found.

Humans Are Birdbrained When Learning Speech, Study Hints

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 17, 2006   View Article

Hummingbirds are well known for their ability to flap their wings at an eye-blurring 75 beats or more per second. Less known, perhaps, is the fact that they can learn to sing the hummingbird equivalent of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Like parrots and sparrows, whales and dolphins, and bats and humans, hummingbirds are part of a select group of animals that possess the ability to imitate and learn sounds—a process known as vocal learning.

Cockerels Dole Sperm With Precision, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 5, 2003   View Article

When it comes to the primal urge to pass genes on to the next generation, red jungle fowls (Gallus gallus) are a sophisticated lot: They dole out their sperm with economic and strategic precision, according to a new study.

Like most species in the animal kingdom, the birds (a type of wild chicken) are sexually promiscuous. Females may mate with several different males in any given reproductive cycle. Males seem to mate whenever they get a chance.

Cannibalism Normal for Early Humans?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 10, 2003   View Article

Genetic markers commonly found in modern humans all over the world could be evidence that our earliest ancestors were cannibals, according to new research. Scientists suggest that even today many of us carry a gene that evolved as protection against brain diseases that can be spread by eating human flesh.

Ant Study Shows Link Between Single Gene, Colony Formation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 24, 2002   View Article

The complex group behavior of social insects such as ants and bees has long intrigued scientists and other observers. This activity is thought to be shaped by a combination of factors, including genetics, learning, and the environment. But a new study shows that when it comes to fire ants, a single gene plays a major role.

The finding may offer important insight to researchers who are working to determine what genes influence social behavior in people.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach