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.
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Ever wondered while some people tan in the sun, while others always seem to burn? You guessed it, genetics are partially...
03/18/2020
Understanding Genetics

Ever wondered while some people tan in the sun, while others always seem to burn? You guessed it, genetics are partially to blame ☀️🏖

Another common question on chimeras: "Can it explain ___ disease that I have?" Short answer is probably not, but there's...
03/10/2020
Understanding Genetics

Another common question on chimeras: "Can it explain ___ disease that I have?" Short answer is probably not, but there's a lot we still don't know. For more about what we DO know check out our latest article.

New article posted today on dyslexia! Tl;dr it's complicated, scientists have studied a LOT of factors, and we still don...
03/09/2020
Understanding Genetics

New article posted today on dyslexia!
Tl;dr it's complicated, scientists have studied a LOT of factors, and we still don't have all the answers.

Men with one colorblind gene are affected, while most women with one colorblind gene have normal vision. If you've ever ...
03/06/2020
Understanding Genetics

Men with one colorblind gene are affected, while most women with one colorblind gene have normal vision. If you've ever wondered how that works (or why I said "most"), check out our latest article!

Occasionally we get questions from authors who want to make their stories more authentic. This author wanted to know if ...
03/05/2020
Understanding Genetics

Occasionally we get questions from authors who want to make their stories more authentic. This author wanted to know if you can link an old skeleton to modern relatives. Turns out you probably can!

We get a LOT of questions over here on human chimeras. Lots of people think they might be one! But it turns out that hum...
02/27/2020
Understanding Genetics

We get a LOT of questions over here on human chimeras. Lots of people think they might be one! But it turns out that human chimeras are rare, and hard to detect. Check out our latest article for more.

Ever wonder how blue eye can pop up unexpectedly in a family? Check out our latest article to learn how this can happen!
02/12/2020
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how blue eye can pop up unexpectedly in a family? Check out our latest article to learn how this can happen!

Ever wonder how much DNA you share with your grandparents? It's around 25%, but genetic recombination may make it higher...
01/30/2020
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how much DNA you share with your grandparents? It's around 25%, but genetic recombination may make it higher or lower! Check out our latest article for more

We are often asked if it's possible to prevent a genetic disorder from being passed on to a child. Answer: yes! For more...
01/26/2020
Understanding Genetics

We are often asked if it's possible to prevent a genetic disorder from being passed on to a child. Answer: yes! For more on how this might work, check out our latest article:
genetics.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/andersens-syndrome-and-pgd

Ever wonder how things move around in the cell? Read our latest article to learn more!
12/19/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how things move around in the cell? Read our latest article to learn more!

Ever wonder why people say siblings share 50% DNA, while humans and chimps share 99%?!? Turns out there's a lot of diffe...
10/24/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder why people say siblings share 50% DNA, while humans and chimps share 99%?!? Turns out there's a lot of different ways to compare DNA! Read our latest article to learn more

People often ask us what the risks are in marrying a cousin. Check out or latest article to learn why this increases the...
10/16/2019
Understanding Genetics

People often ask us what the risks are in marrying a cousin. Check out or latest article to learn why this increases the risk for genetic disease... but not by as much as you may think.

Can sons (or daughters) just "run in the family"? Check out our latest post to learn more about the science on sex ratio...
10/14/2019
Understanding Genetics

Can sons (or daughters) just "run in the family"? Check out our latest post to learn more about the science on sex ratios, and how it might just be chance.

–A curious adult from New Hampshire I have heard--anecdotally--about some potential condition that some women may have in which they can only carry female embryos/fetuses to term. Is this an actual thing? My mother is one of three girls. I am als

Ever wonder exactly how the cell knows where to start reading your DNA? How the heck does it pick exactly the right plac...
08/12/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder exactly how the cell knows where to start reading your DNA? How the heck does it pick exactly the right place, out of all those DNA letters? For a look into the complex world of transcription, check out our latest post!

— An undergraduate student from Egypt August 8, 2019 This is a great question! A lot of things work together to set the start site of a gene. And different combinations of these things can get the job done, so there’s no single rule for what a tra

What determines how much you look like your parents? Why does one child look more like their parents than another? Turns...
08/11/2019
Understanding Genetics

What determines how much you look like your parents? Why does one child look more like their parents than another? Turns out, appearance is complicated! Read more in our latest post.

Just how accurate are those Rh blood typing tests? Why do they sometimes give inaccurate results? Read more on how this ...
08/10/2019
Understanding Genetics

Just how accurate are those Rh blood typing tests? Why do they sometimes give inaccurate results? Read more on how this test isn't perfect in our latest post!

Ever wonder how the latest sequencing methods work? What is "third generation sequencing?" How is it different from "nex...
08/09/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how the latest sequencing methods work? What is "third generation sequencing?" How is it different from "next gen"? Read our latest article to learn more!

Someone recently asked: Are all humans the same subspecies? (Spoiler alert: yes!) Read one of our latest articles for mo...
08/09/2019
Understanding Genetics

Someone recently asked: Are all humans the same subspecies? (Spoiler alert: yes!) Read one of our latest articles for more on how species are defined.

Is your dominant hand something you’re born with or something you develop? Turns out it's a bit of both! Read our latest...
07/16/2019
Understanding Genetics

Is your dominant hand something you’re born with or something you develop? Turns out it's a bit of both! Read our latest blog post to learn more.

Can asthma run in families? While there is a genetic component, it's complicated! Read our latest post to learn more.
07/15/2019
Understanding Genetics

Can asthma run in families? While there is a genetic component, it's complicated! Read our latest post to learn more.

-- A high school student from the Philippines July 15, 2019 It is possible! Bronchial asthma can run in families. Asthma is actually a very complex trait, and is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Having a relative with asthma

Are 'amber' eyes a distinct color? How is eye color inherited, beyond the basic brown/green/blue? Read more in our lates...
07/08/2019
Understanding Genetics

Are 'amber' eyes a distinct color? How is eye color inherited, beyond the basic brown/green/blue? Read more in our latest article!

Will humans ever be able to regenerate a limb, like crabs and starfish? While this is still a very distant dream, read m...
07/05/2019
Understanding Genetics

Will humans ever be able to regenerate a limb, like crabs and starfish? While this is still a very distant dream, read more about regeneration in our latest blog post.

Ever wonder how new DNA sequencing methods are different from older ones? Read our latest article to learn about these d...
07/02/2019
Understanding Genetics

Ever wonder how new DNA sequencing methods are different from older ones? Read our latest article to learn about these different technologies.

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%

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