Genetic Science

Genetics is the study of cellular science. It furthers our understanding of how DNA and the genetic make-up of species and can lead to cures for diseases and shape our future.

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What are the likely outcomes of mankind's new knowledge of the human genome?

After scientists announced the first draft of the human genome, people began to wonder how our new understanding of DNA would change life. Several research institutes stated the accomplishment would revolutionize science and modern medicine -- but how, exactly?

Genetics at Work Pictures

What's more fun than looking at pictures of DNA and celebrities? Check out Dolly, dimples and dominant and recessive traits in this fun gallery charting how genetics play out in humans (and a few animals).

How are genes turned off and on?

One day you can digest dairy, and the next, milk makes you sick. The culprit behind this crime against milk? Gene regulation. But how do certain traits just switch off?

Is there a gene for every disease?

We have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. That means a lot of opportunities for mistakes, and some of these mutations lead to disease. But it's a little more complicated than that.

What makes humans human?

Chimps share almost 99 percent of our genetic makeup. What makes up that tiny, 1 percent difference? What are the things that differentiate us from other great apes?

Is it ethical to use stem cells?

Stem cells hold the promise of helping us treat a host of diseases and conditions, from spinal cord injuries to Parkinson's. And yet the use of these special cells is quite controversial -- because of where they come from.

Are foods made using biotechnology safe to eat?

Scientists use agricultural biotechnology to create crops that resist pests and fight off disease. But some people are squeamish about eating these genetically modified crops. Are their fears justified?

What is agricultural biotechnology?

Wouldn't it be nice to grow crops that grew 50 percent more than current varieties? How about a strain of vegetables that were safe from insects without using pesticides? Agricultural biotechnology can do that.

Can we bring Neanderthals back?

Neanderthals and humans coexisted for thousands of years, but the relationship between the two species was always a bit dysfunctional. Could we get reacquainted with our evolutionary peers?

Can we create a real Jurassic Park?

You yearn to peer out the window of an SUV and watch a Tyrannosaurus rex lumber into a clearing. Your home movie of said event would be a YouTube sensation. Could it ever happen?

Can humans live forever?

We've been raised with the belief that death is inevitable, so we must consider the legacy of what we'll leave behind. But what if you had unlimited time to pursue your life's work? What if you didn't have to die?

What happens when you thaw a "corpsicle"?

An Arctic frog can spend weeks frozen solid. But once things warm up, the frog thaws out and goes about its normal business. Could people do the same?

Will the Hayflick limit keep us from living forever?

Can humans live forever? No, but thanks to the discovery of the Hayflick limit, we know that cells can conceivably divide forever without dying.

How Telomeres Work

As you read this, your telomeres may be growing shorter, signaling your imminent demise. Could these chromosome caps hold the key to long life without causing cancer?

What can your spit tell you about your DNA?

Doctors always want your blood, but one day, a health care professional may ask you to open up and say, "Ptooey!" Why? Your spit holds a mother lode of biological information.

What have we learned from the Human Genome Project?

More than 50 years have passed since Watson and Crick untangled the structure of DNA and five years have elapsed since scientists finished sequencing the entire human genome. What have we figured out about our genetic material?

How Charles Darwin Worked

How would you like to be the person responsible for changing science and Western civilization? With the "Origin of Species," Charles Darwin did. How did this English gent become the reluctant ambassador of evolution?

How Gene Doping Works

Who hasn't fantasized about bigger biceps? Killer abs? A rear end you could bounce a quarter off? But would you tamper with your genes to achieve that buff body?

How can you tell if athletes alter their genes?

Many athletes and even some of us ordinary folks long to be faster, stronger, more muscled. Would you be willing to permanently edit your genes to achieve that result? How would anyone ever know?

Why are turkeys genetically modified?

That bowling ball of white meat in your oven is a far cry from its wild ancestors. How did a single breed of top-heavy, dim-witted birds come to dominate the turkey market?

Can a sewing machine stitch together DNA?

You might think of a sewing machine as that dusty thing that your mom would pull out to help you make a homemade Halloween costume. That's not quite the same device that has scientists so excited.

What is the Human Epigenome Project?

You know how scientists labored to map the human genome? Well, they're back at it, only this time, they're studying what causes those thousands of genes to switch on and off.

How Epigenetics Works

The field of epigenetics investigates how environment, nutrition and social conditions affect gene expression. Does that mean DNA isn't destiny?

Could we clone our organs to be used in a transplant?

Ever hear that urban legend about waking up without your kidney? Would organ thieves have to find a new line of work if cloned organs became a reality?

Why are some animals harder to clone than others?

With headlines about cloned meat entering our grocery stores and all that talk about Dolly the sheep, you might be surprised to learn that many animals aren't so easy to clone.


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