January 6, 2011

The Story of a Giant, Written in His DNA

Gina Kolata, NY Times


He was a giant of a man, 7 feet 7 inches tall, who left his home in Ireland when he was 19 and traveled to London to make his fortune as a freak. There Charles Byrne, known as the Irish Giant, garnered wealth and fame. But, suffering from tuberculosis and an excessive love of gin, he died a few years later, in 1783. A surgeon — John Hunter — bought Mr. Byrne’s corpse, boiled it in acid to remove the flesh, and exhibited the skeleton in his museum in London.

And there the bones remained, studied in 1909 by the renowned American surgeon Harvey Cushing, who removed the top of the skull and pronounced that Mr. Byrne had had a Read Full Article ››

TAGGED: Mutation, Genetics, DNA, Growth Hormone, Tumors, Pituitary Gland, Gigantism


October 14, 2013
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Megan Gambino, Smithsonian
Imagine a dating site where, in addition to a completed survey, you have to submit a genetic profile. This could be the future of matchmaking, especially now that some scientists think that our compatibility genes—the same... more ››
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I'm an Athlete Because I'm a Mutant
David Epstein, National Geographic
Back when Eero Mäntyranta was the greatest endurance athlete in the world, there was nothing remarkable about his physical appearance. Sure, in pictures I had collected of him from the 1960s, his slightly tan skin seemed more... more ››
October 3, 2013
Taboo Genetics: Intelligence, Race & Sexuality
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Growing up in the college town of Ames, Iowa, during the 1970s, Stephen Hsu was surrounded by the precocious sons and daughters of professors. Around 2010, after years of work as a theoretical physicist at the University of... more ››
October 2, 2013
Left- vs. Right-Handed: No Strong Genetic Factor
Univ. of Nottingham
Around 10 per cent of the UK is left handed — and that percentage remains consistent in many populations around the world. But why exactly someone is left or right handed remains unclear. more ››