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Top stories: Human origins debate, an African DNA scandal, and moles’ weird way of walking

Experts question study claiming to pinpoint birthplace of all humans

A new genetic study suggests all modern humans trace our ancestry to a single spot in southern Africa 200,000 years ago. But experts say the study, which analyzes the DNA of living people, is not nearly comprehensive enough to pinpoint where our species arose.

Major U.K. genetics lab accused of misusing African DNA

Advocates for genomic research in Africa are worried about fallout from a dispute that has roiled the Wellcome Sanger Institute, a major genome research center in Hinxton, U.K­. Last year, whistleblowers privately accused Sanger of commercializing a gene chip without proper legal agreements with partner institutions and the consent of the hundreds of African people whose donated DNA was used to develop it.

Moles have one of the most unusual walks on Earth

Moles, with their oversized front feet and long digging claws, don’t walk like any other animal. A new study finds the velvet-coated critters have a gait akin to a speed-walking human, assuming that person was also using a cane.

Ancient soil from secret Greenland base suggests Earth could lose a lot of ice

In one of the Cold War’s oddest experiments, the United States dug a 300-meter-long military base called Camp Century into the Greenland ice in the early 1960s, powered it with a nuclear reactor, and set out to test the feasibility of shuttling nuclear missiles beneath the ice. A constant struggle against intruding snow doomed the base, which was abandoned in 1966. But Camp Century has left a lasting, nonmilitary legacy: a 1.3-kilometer-long ice core drilled at the site that holds secrets of Earth’s ancient climate.

Two new drugs finally hit ‘undruggable’ cancer target, providing hope for treatments

Cancer researchers are making progress toward a goal that has eluded them for more than 30 years: shrinking tumors by shutting off a protein called KRAS that drives growth in many cancer types. A new type of drug aimed at KRAS made tumors disappear in mice and shrank tumors in lung cancer patients, two companies report in papers published this week.