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Crowdfunding can power investigations into diseases that would otherwise receive little attention.

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image: Infographic: Rare Disease by the Numbers

Infographic: Rare Disease by the Numbers

By The Scientist Staff | May 1, 2018

How rare conditions and research spending on them compare with more common diseases.

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image: Slow March Toward a Canavan Cure

Slow March Toward a Canavan Cure

By Ashley Yeager | May 1, 2018

Two decades after a successful crowdfunding campaign, some clinical trial patients have seen improvements—but there’s still no approved treatment for the disease.

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Though Calliope Joy’s disease is too far progressed to be treatable, her parents have helped other children with metachromatic leukodystrophy get access to an experimental therapy.

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DNA from a relative of the suspect submitted to the site GEDmatch gave investigators just enough information to identify him, but the process raises privacy concerns.

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image: Preterm Labor May Be Sparked by Fetal Immune Reaction

Preterm Labor May Be Sparked by Fetal Immune Reaction

By Ruth Williams | April 25, 2018

Immune cells targeting maternal antigens are abundant in the blood of premature infants, suggesting fetal intolerance of mom may instigate early labor.  

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Researchers used the genome sequence of Artemisia annua to boost the plant’s production of artemisinin.

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Rather than getting a gene for its original function, a horizontal gene transfer provides the raw material for evolutionary innovation.

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Drug-free environments, such as a designated ward in a hospital, might reduce the strength of selection for resistance.

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image: Free Divers From Southeast Asia Evolved Bigger Spleens

Free Divers From Southeast Asia Evolved Bigger Spleens

By Anna Azvolinsky | April 19, 2018

The adaptation gives better endurance to the Bajau people, known as sea nomads, by increasing spleen size and, in turn, boosting the number of oxygenated red blood cells when diving.  

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