Dr. Barry Starr
Dr. Barry Starr is a Geneticist-in-Residence at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA and runs their Stanford at The Tech program. The program is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Stanford Department of Genetics and The Tech Museum of Innovation. Together these two partners created the Genetics: Technology with a Twist exhibition.
Dr. Barry Starr's Latest Posts
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests are a fun way to learn about your family history, ancestry and maybe even a bit about your future health risks. But sometimes, they can also lead to unforeseen negative consequences.
Scientists recently fixed a broken gene in a fertilized mouse egg and prevented the mouse from getting an ultimately fatal form of muscular dystrophy. This study may one day translate into gene therapies that will treat and maybe even reverse certain effects of the disease.
A new study suggests how early life might have survived without some of the cellular machinery that is absolutely required for life today. Turns out that having a fairly leaky membrane may have been the key.
About 90% of us over the age of 12 fail to get as much exercise as we should. This is almost certainly not because we don’t believe in those benefits. Instead, it looks like at least part of the reason may be that some of us are genetically programmed to hate exercise.
We might be able to use selfish genes to cause the population of mosquitoes that carry malaria to crash. Is genetically manipulating these insects out in the wild worth preventing hundreds of millions of people from getting malaria?
The world had been awash in news about how we can see the evidence in our DNA of ancient humans mating with Neanderthals and their close relatives, the Denisovans. Now in a new study out in the journal Nature, a group of researchers has found the strongest evidence to date that this mating mattered.
An online service called Promethease allows you to convert your genetic ancestry data into health data. If you do, keep in mind that you may miss key health data because your ancestry test might not have been designed to find important health markers.
A surprisingly large number of DNA regions are involved in hair color. Stanford scientists have solved how one of these can lead to blonde hair.
Comb jellies are these beautiful, otherworldly creatures that sparkle gently in the sea. And now, if a study in the journal Science and another one in the journal Nature hold up, they may not be so gentle on evolution or the tree of life. These “aliens of the sea” are fundamentally changing how we think about both.
Neanderthals may be extinct but at least 20-40% of their DNA lives on in modern Europeans and Asians because of interbreeding. Neanderthal DNA survives because it gave useful traits to the ancestors of Europeans and Asians.
Scientists were able to engineer a version of the bird flu that can spread between mammals, the first step towards turning this virus into a pandemic. This research is controversial as it has created something that is potentially dangerous.
A group of scientists has replaced a natural chromosome in yeast with an artificial one. This won't only make a more useful yeast, but it also opens the door to redesigning the DNA of more complicated beasts like plants and animals (or us) and maybe even to resurrecting extinct species like the passenger pigeon or wooly mammoth.
Evaluating your whole genome sequence to determine your health risks is not yet up to snuff. But as imperfect as it is, you still might see something that could save your life.
A group of scientists has reported that they have been able to make current treatments for post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) better and longer lasting in mice. The hope is that these findings may one day pave the way for better treatments for the 7-8% of people who suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives.
Scientists can now make precise, specific changes in the DNA of primates using a new technology first identified in bacteria. Not only will this usher in an age where animal models for human diseases are more useful, but it also means that we are very close to being able to do the same thing in people.
Scientists have just done something that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago—they have sequenced the entire set of DNA from a 7000 year old Spaniard. And this isn’t all. They have also managed to learn that he was most likely a dark-skinned, blue or green-eyed man who had trouble digesting milk as an adult.
Six out of every thousand people are estimated to be identical twins. This means that there are a lot of children being fathered by identical twins and that these twins are involved in a good number of crimes too. And until recently, none could be identified from just their DNA. This has all changed in a new study where scientists were able to reliably use DNA to tell two identical twins from each other.
Imagine a world where your experiences can be passed on to the next generation. Scientists don’t yet know if this happens in people, but they have now confirmed in a new study that this sort of thing does happen in mice.
In response to a letter from the FDA, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing company in Mountain View, California called 23andMe has agreed to stop providing health data on new purchases of its $99 genetic tests.