Understanding Genetics at The Tech Interactive

Understanding Genetics at The Tech Interactive Our goal is to make genetics understandable to the general public. To do this, we write articles about genetics, run floor demonstrations at The Tech Interactive, and provide at-home and on-line genetics activities.
Understanding Genetics is a collaboration between The Tech in San Jose, California and the Genetics Department at Stanford University. Graduate students, post-docs, and scientific staff from Stanford contribute their time and knowledge to inform and excite people about the important and evolving field of genetics.

Ever wonder how phylogenetic trees are made? Read our latest post to learn how!
06/04/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how phylogenetic trees are made? Read our latest post to learn how!

Do they just look for similarities between the whole genomes? Or just specific genes? Or RNA? Or what exactly? - A high school student from Egypt June 4, 2019 A phylogenetic tree is a diagram used to show how organisms are related to one

What does it mean to be a "secretor"? How is that related to blood type? And why does the internet suggest so many fad d...
05/30/2019
Understanding Genetics

What does it mean to be a "secretor"? How is that related to blood type? And why does the internet suggest so many fad diets based on this?? Read more in our latest article: https://bit.ly/30RTEHP

A student asked us if it would be possible to genetically engineer catfish whiskers onto a snake. Check out our latest b...
05/28/2019
Understanding Genetics

A student asked us if it would be possible to genetically engineer catfish whiskers onto a snake. Check out our latest blog post to learn why this would be rather difficult!

Someone asked us how asexual aphids are able to develop pesticide resistance. So we dug into the details of the surprisi...
05/23/2019
Understanding Genetics

Someone asked us how asexual aphids are able to develop pesticide resistance. So we dug into the details of the surprisingly complex Soybean Aphid life cycle! Read more in our latest blog post.

Ever wondered about the genetics of the Lannister family tree? Just how related are Jaime and Cersei's children, anyway?...
05/07/2019

Ever wondered about the genetics of the Lannister family tree? Just how related are Jaime and Cersei's children, anyway? For more, read our latest post here: https://tinyurl.com/lannistergenetics

Is it possible to tell which identical twin is the parent of a child based on their DNA? Check out our latest article to...
04/02/2019
Understanding Genetics

Is it possible to tell which identical twin is the parent of a child based on their DNA? Check out our latest article to learn more: http://tinyurl.com/yy5jru4r

-- A curious adult from Pennsylvania April 2, 2019 Probably not. If both twins were still alive, you might be able to figure it out. But it would still be quite difficult. Identical twins have, for the most part, identical DNA. Because of this,

"It is said that our DNA contains as much information as a complete set of encyclopedias or more. Is this also true of p...
03/21/2019

"It is said that our DNA contains as much information as a complete set of encyclopedias or more. Is this also true of plants? Like a begonia?"

Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2TlLYbO

Love comic books? Check out the new interactive comic from the NY Hall of Science, Transmissions: Gone Viral
03/07/2019
Transmissions – NYSCI

Love comic books? Check out the new interactive comic from the NY Hall of Science, Transmissions: Gone Viral

Ever wonder why women aren't usually affected by X-linked diseases? Learn more about X-inactivation in our latest post.
03/07/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder why women aren't usually affected by X-linked diseases? Learn more about X-inactivation in our latest post.

Recently someone asked:"My daughter had a bone marrow transplant when she was 16. The donor was male. She is now 30 and ...
03/05/2019
Understanding Genetics

Recently someone asked:

"My daughter had a bone marrow transplant when she was 16. The donor was male. She is now 30 and is pregnant. She just had some blood work done, and the lab called to say that the blood sample they sent in was male, not female! My daughter is now worried about the baby looking like the donor instead of her, and/or having medical issues. Does she need to worry about this?"

- A concerned adult from North Carolina March 5, 2019 Rest assured the baby will not look like the donor! This is due to the fact that the baby will inherit DNA from Mom, not the donor. Let’s look into what it means to have a bone marrow tr

New synthetic DNA basepairs might give us a new way to store digital data
02/25/2019
DNA Gets a New — and Bigger — Genetic Alphabet

New synthetic DNA basepairs might give us a new way to store digital data

DNA is spelled out with four letters, or bases. Researchers have now built a system with eight. It may hold clues to the potential for life elsewhere in the universe and could also expand our capacity to store digital data on Earth

Ever wondered about the genetics of hair color? Read our latest article to learn more!
02/16/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wondered about the genetics of hair color? Read our latest article to learn more!

Curious about the genetics of ALS and your chance of inheriting it? Check out our latest article to learn more
02/13/2019
Understanding Genetics

Curious about the genetics of ALS and your chance of inheriting it? Check out our latest article to learn more

A woman with a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy recently asked us how likely it is she's a carrier, and if ...
02/09/2019
Understanding Genetics

A woman with a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy recently asked us how likely it is she's a carrier, and if so, whether she'll develop any symptoms herself.

- A curious woman from Virginia February 8, 2019 These are great questions! There is a 50% chance that you are a carrier for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), just like your mother. Typically, carriers for DMD do not have any problems. But 20%

Come to the Tech on weekday mornings to learn about genetics with Stanford graduate students!
02/04/2019

Come to the Tech on weekday mornings to learn about genetics with Stanford graduate students!

Someone recently asked us if a bone marrow transplant made her "genetically trans". While the transplant probably did no...
02/04/2019
Understanding Genetics

Someone recently asked us if a bone marrow transplant made her "genetically trans". While the transplant probably did not affect her identity, she is a chimera with both male and female DNA. Read our latest article for more info!

- A curious adult from New Hampshire February 2, 2019 Chimeras have Two different sources of DNA You’re absolutely right that you are a chimera. The term chimera refers to any time someone has two different sources of DNA in their body. In yo

There are now a few blue-eyed coyotes roaming around California, probably thanks to a genetic mutation!
02/03/2019
Rare Blue-Eyed Coyotes Spotted in California

There are now a few blue-eyed coyotes roaming around California, probably thanks to a genetic mutation!

Coyotes’ eyes are consistently golden-brown, so researchers have been surprised to learn of five California coyotes with piercing baby blues

Scientists have recently assembled a new version of the Axolotl genome, which they hope will help shed light on how thes...
01/30/2019
Seeking Superpowers in the Axolotl Genome

Scientists have recently assembled a new version of the Axolotl genome, which they hope will help shed light on how these amazing animals are able to regenerate and heal from so many different types of injuries.

The smiling salamanders can regrow most of their body parts, so researchers are building improved maps of their DNA.

Rapid DNA machines are being rolled out to police stations across the country, promising to make genetic fingerprinting ...
01/23/2019
Coming Soon to a Police Station Near You: The DNA ‘Magic Box’

Rapid DNA machines are being rolled out to police stations across the country, promising to make genetic fingerprinting routine. Yet this does not come without legal and ethical concerns: with such easy testing, more people who are merely "suspicious" will be permanently enrolled in DNA databases

With Rapid DNA machines, genetic fingerprinting could become as routine as the old-fashioned kind. But forensic experts see a potential for misuse.

“It is disappointing that someone who made such groundbreaking contributions to science is perpetuating such scientifi...
01/16/2019
DNA Pioneer James Watson Loses Honorary Titles Over Racist Comments

“It is disappointing that someone who made such groundbreaking contributions to science is perpetuating such scientifically unsupported and hurtful beliefs.”

The renowned scientist has a long history of controversial commentary on not only race, but issues spanning gender, religion and sexuality

A new Stanford study shows that DNA regions that "break" more easily may be evolutionary hot spots that allow animals to...
01/08/2019
Strength in weakness: Fragile DNA regions key to vertebrate evolution

A new Stanford study shows that DNA regions that "break" more easily may be evolutionary hot spots that allow animals to evolve quickly.

DNA regions susceptible to breakage and loss are genetic hot spots for important evolutionary changes, according to Stanford study. The findings may lead to new understanding of human evolution.

Giving (or receiving) a DNA test for Christmas? Be prepared for the possibility you'll learn something unexpected about ...
12/20/2018
The Christmas present that could tear your family apart

Giving (or receiving) a DNA test for Christmas? Be prepared for the possibility you'll learn something unexpected about your family.

Millions of people are giving DNA testing kits as presents, but sometimes finding out more than they bargained for.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
12/17/2018
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Did you know? ADHD is estimated to affect 5% of all children worldwide and 2% of adults. Neil Lamb discusses the genetic pieces of ADHD in this week's Shareable Science – #HudsonAlpha #ShareableScience #ScienceForLife

Are long eyelashes genetic? In some cases, yes! Read our latest post to learn more.
11/30/2018
Understanding Genetics

Are long eyelashes genetic? In some cases, yes! Read our latest post to learn more.

- A high school student from Australia November 29, 2018 In some cases, yes! Eyelash length definitely is influenced by genetics, but there are other factors that can affect it too. Medically speaking, “long eyelashes” are defined as longer than

Ever wondered how paternity tests work? Or why a parent and child will match at every position, and not just half? Check...
11/29/2018
Understanding Genetics

Ever wondered how paternity tests work? Or why a parent and child will match at every position, and not just half? Check out our latest post to learn more.

“Having listened to Dr. He, I can only conclude that this was misguided, premature, unnecessary and largely useless."
11/29/2018
CRISPR-baby scientist fails to satisfy critics

“Having listened to Dr. He, I can only conclude that this was misguided, premature, unnecessary and largely useless."

He Jiankui gives talk about controversial claim of genome editing babies, but ethical questions remain.

Yesterday Dr. He, who claims to have created the first genetically edited babies, defended his work before an incensed g...
11/28/2018
Chinese Scientist Who Says He Edited Babies’ Genes Defends His Work

Yesterday Dr. He, who claims to have created the first genetically edited babies, defended his work before an incensed group of genetic editing researchers.

The scientist, He Jiankui, said at a conference on Wednesday that his actions were safe and ethical. Some of his colleagues seemed unconvinced.

A scientist in China claims that he has made the world's first genetically edited babies. While this is still completely...
11/26/2018
China baby gene editing claim 'dubious'

A scientist in China claims that he has made the world's first genetically edited babies. While this is still completely unverified, it is sparking worldwide outrage as genetic modification of human embryos is banned in most countries.

Significant doubts emerge over claims of twins altered as embryos to prevent them from contracting HIV.

Ever wonder how Rh factor evolved? Or what blood types exist in other animals? Check out our latest post to learn more: ...
11/20/2018

Ever wonder how Rh factor evolved? Or what blood types exist in other animals? Check out our latest post to learn more: genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/rhesus-factor-evolution

11/05/2018
Science

Join Science Magazine live tomorrow for a discussion on genetic privacy.

Did you know that your identity could be traced using information from popular home DNA testing kits, even if you’ve never taken one yourself? According to a Science study published in October, researchers have found that large portions of the U.S. population – nearly 60% of those with European heritage – can be identified to name, and even address, using open genetic genealogy databases. While this method opens new doors in cracking cold criminal cases, it also has large implications for the future of your genetic privacy. http://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aau4832

Join our conversation with Dr. Yaniv Erlich, Columbia University computer scientist and Chief Science officer of MyHeritage, and Dr. Shai Carmi, assistant professor at the Hebrew University School of Public Health. They two will discuss this latest research on open genetic genealogy data and take your questions.

The New York Times - Science
11/05/2018
The New York Times - Science

The New York Times - Science

For the 40th anniversary of Science Times, we invite you to ask questions about all things science.

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