iStockphoto

Sequencing the genes of a cancer cell turns up lots of genetic mutations — but some of them are harmless. The goal is to figure out which mutations are the troublemakers. Kevin Curtis/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Curtis/Science Source

Biologist Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project, recently moved the project to the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine. Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado hide caption

itoggle caption Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado

Recent research sequenced 48 bird species, including (from left) the budgerigar, the barn owl and the American flamingo. (Left and center)iStock; (Right) Chris Minerva/Ocean/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption (Left and center)iStock; (Right) Chris Minerva/Ocean/Corbis

Shots - Health News

Birds Of A Feather Aren't Necessarily Related

Geneticists have revised the evolutionary tree of birds, revealing some unlikely relationships.

Listen Loading… 3:34
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/370087804/370156352" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

The Proton Semiconductor Sequencer from Ion Torrent Systems Inc. is a new DNA sequencing machine designed to sequence the entire human genome in about eight hours for $1,000. Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sara Terry and her son, Christian, in Spring, Texas. After sequencing Christian's genome, doctors were able to diagnose him with a Noonan-like syndrome. Eric Kayne for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Eric Kayne for NPR

Watson, now 84, says sequencing helped explain his past sensitivity to certain drugs. But he didn't want to know everything his sequenced genome revealed about his health future. Courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Slides containing DNA sit in a bay waiting to be analyzed by a genome sequencing machine. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Human chromosomes like these contain genes and lots of other genetic material whose function has been a mystery. National Cancer Institute via AP hide caption

itoggle caption National Cancer Institute via AP