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Evolution has sculpted the human genome to cope with Earth’s toughest climates, inadvertently pointing geneticists towards medically important genes.

That’s the opposite way round to how many other geneticists work. They often start with the trait and try to find relevant genes. Nielsen, however, started by finding genes that evolution had already flagged as being important, and then worked out what traits those genes influence. “First, we find the bit of the haystack where the needle might be,” he explains. And his team did the same thing in Tibet and Ethiopia, identifying genes that help local people cope with air that has 40 percent less oxygen than what most of us inhale.

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Why NASA Didn’t Just Send Over A Rover To Look For Water On Mars

Mars is basically a pretty arid place, so it’s pretty astonishing that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was able to spot signs of liquid water on the planet’s surface.

But even more astonishing in a way is that one of the places where signs of water was spotted is a mere 50 kilometers from where NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring. After all, Mars is a pretty big planet, and signs of water have been spotted in only a handful of places.

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