Genetics Essential Reads

Are Over-the-Counter Genetic Tests Risk-Free?

What will you learn from that over-the-counter genetic test holiday gift?

The Psychology of Religion

By Andy Tix Ph.D. on December 14, 2017 in The Pursuit of Peace
What explains why some individuals are more religious than others? Scientists interested in the psychology of religion seek answers.

Compared to Humans, How Good Is a Dog's Visual Acuity?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on December 14, 2017 in Canine Corner
Recent data shows that the visual acuity of humans is several times better than that of dogs under most light conditions.

Cultural Group Selection

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on December 14, 2017 in This Is America
In addition to genetic differences and individual learning, a process called cultural group selection may help explain the ecological success of human beings.

Genetic Exoneration

Can we improve on how we help cancer patients and their families learn about their risk for cancer? New test says "Yes. Better than ever."

Love, Trust, and Sexual Infidelity

By Eyal Winter Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Feeling Smart
Can a medication based on oxytocin treat sexual infidelity?

Should You Check Your Genes for Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Andrew E. Budson M.D. on November 26, 2017 in Managing Your Memory
Anyone can now find out if they have the most common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. But what will you do with the information?

What Makes Us Human? Dopamine and the Cerebellum Hold Clues

By Christopher Bergland on November 24, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A pioneering new Yale-led comparative analysis of human, chimpanzee, and macaque brains offers fresh clues about what makes the human brain unique.
Photo by Lynn Redmile

Musical Talent: A Mix of Genes and Environments

By Nancy L. Segal Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in Twofold
Why are you musical—or not?

8 Great Books on the Evolved Psychology of Sex and Passion

By Kevin Bennett on October 22, 2017 in Modern Minds
Every intensely emotional thing you do is inked to an adaptive problem and solution. These books will open doors.

And the Nobel Prize Goes to…Circadian Rhythms

Why the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology has circadian rhythms researchers buzzing with excitement.

Move Over, Gray Matter—White Matter Is Taking Center Stage

By Christopher Bergland on October 17, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
One of the largest studies of white matter (which enables communication between brain regions) ever was published today by scientists from the University of Southern California.

Your Neanderthal Quotient and Your Personality

Thought the Neanderthals were extinct? Think again. Their DNA is likely alive in all the cells of your body. What’s more? This heritage may affect how you act each day.

Why Would Anyone Run For Office? It’s In Their Genes?

By Gregg R. Murray Ph.D. on October 01, 2017 in Caveman Politics
For the life of me I’ve never understood why someone would want to run for office. This may help explain it.

Why Does God Want to Kill Me?

By Mario D Garrett Ph.D. on September 20, 2017 in iAge
We are meant to die. It is nature's way of making our species survive. But our strategy as humans has been to develop a large brain and to live longer, to which there's a downside.

On The Evolution of the Serotonin Transporter Gene

By Emily Deans M.D. on September 04, 2017 in Evolutionary Psychiatry
If behavior can be predicted by genotype, we have ethical challenges for the future we can start thinking about now.
Image by Diane Tober

The Debate Over an Egg Donor Registry

By Diane M. Tober Ph.D. on August 31, 2017 in The Age of Biotech
Is the quest for an egg donor registry emotional? Or a matter of scientific/medical ethics?

Jet Lagged? Here's What to Do About It

Planning an end-of-summer trip? Here's how to protect yourself from jet lag!

Fated to Fear

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on August 17, 2017 in The Infested Mind
Is there evidence that our fear of insects is rooted in evolution? Studies of human genetics and results of controlled experiments support the inheritance of the infested mind.

Nature vs. Nurture and Depression

Variations in the serotonin re-uptake transporter can make big differences in the lifelong risk of depression. How did this discovery happen, and where do we go from here?

How To Explain How Genes Affect Politics

How do genes affect political attitudes and behavior? At least one guy knows how to explain it.

Yes, You Can’t!—Why You Should Affirm Your Limitations

This title may seem unduly pessimistic—or downright perverse. But as a cautionary note, there are times when your dreams or lofty ideals must bow to inescapable reality.

Brain Fertilizer

The genes coding for BDNF are another area where researchers are looking at the pathology behind psychiatric illness, and finding helpful clues to guide clinical treatment.

Why Parents Make Us What We Are

By Christopher Badcock Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in The Imprinted Brain
Imprinted genes are critically implicated in nurture via their role in the brain and REM sleep.

Genes, Ions, and Other New Frontiers in Psychiatry

A gene related to ion channels common to many families with mental illness leads us to new discoveries and treatments based on actual brain pathology.

Twins With Two Daddies

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in How We Do It
Paternity suits triggered by strikingly different fraternal twins have revealed bizarre cases with two different fathers. Split paternity is the visible tip of a sizeable iceberg.

Four Reasons Why People Become Empaths: Trauma to Genetics

Why do people become empaths? As a psychiatrist and an empath, I’ve seen that there are four main factors that can contribute to heightening one's sensitivities.

Aggression and Fear Can Be Reduced in Specific Dog Breeds

New data provides a possible alternative to breed-specific legislation to control aggression and fearfulness in dogs.

Domestication, It's Complicated

Cats may have been domesticated twice, or more. A new study shows that today’s domestic cats have two sets of maternal ancestors.

The Bachs and the Epigenetics of Music

By Christopher Badcock Ph.D. on June 17, 2017 in The Imprinted Brain
Many believe epigenetics makes inheritance of acquired traits possible, but the example of imprinted genes on chromosome 15 provides a better explanation of innate musical ability.