Science Education: Genetics
Understanding the genetic material DNA and RNA, heredity and variation—that's genetics. Studies in genetics focus on questions like:
- What regulates the activity of genes?
- How does a single fertilized egg develop into a complete organism with hundreds of different cell types?
- What can we learn about ourselves by studying organisms like bacteria, yeast and fruit flies?
Follow the links below to learn more about genetics, including recent discoveries, and read profiles of researchers working in this field.
The New Genetics
Explains the role of genes in health and disease, the basics of DNA and its molecular cousin RNA, and new directions in genetic research.
Computing Genetics from Computing Life
Explores how computing advances are helping scientists uncover new details about diseases, drug treatments and even crimes.
Living Laboratories Poster
Learn about model organisms used in research.
Our bodies keep time with the help of 24-hour "circadian" rhythms, which are directed by genes. Get answers to common questions about how these rhythms work and affect our lives.
RNA interference is a recently discovered mechanism that silences genes. Learn how it works—and how we can harness it to treat disease and study genetic processes.
We're learning important things about health and disease by studying genes in individuals and populations.
Using Model Organisms to Study Health and Disease
The mustard plant, roundworm and fruit fly have taught us a lot about ourselves. Learn more about why scientists study these and other simple organisms.
Gene Blocks Appetite Suppression
A gene called Epac1 blocks the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin and could offer a new drug target for controlling obesity and diabetes.
Stickiness Helps Sort Stem Cells
A new method of sorting human induced pluripotent stem cells utilizes their adhesive properties.
Evolution, Genetics and Environmental Adaptation
High-altitude natives in Ethiopia have a genetic variant that makes them less susceptible to chronic mountain sickness, and this finding could shed light on other conditions related to low blood oxygen levels.
Taking the ‘Bite’ Out of Vector-Borne Diseases
By studying a bacterium called Wolbachia, researchers are revealing the basic mechanisms that let infection-causing organisms flourish inside their hosts.
How Animals Offer Clues to Regeneration
Exploring the strategies that some organisms use to regrow missing cells, organs and appendages might help researchers find ways to regenerate lost or injured body parts.
RNA is a versatile molecule that is involved in many essential cellular functions. Here's a quick rundown of types of RNA that scientists are discovering and learning more about.
A Light on Life's Rhythms
Neuroscientist Cara Altimus studies circadian rhythms in mice to learn how the human brain regulates bodily functions.
The Right Fit
Clinical pharmacist Julie Johnson researches how genes affect the body's response to medicines.
Mountains and Mouse Genes
Biostatistician Gary Churchill studies mouse genetics to link gene combinations to traits.
Cool Video: Re-creating Kidneys
By studying how planarians grow back lost tissue, scientists might move one step closer to replacing diseased or injured human tissue and cells.
Malaria: Natural Selection and New Medicine
Researchers explain the rise of drug-resistant malaria and strategize how to develop vaccines against the disease.
This movie, which shows groups of genes turning on (red) or off (green), helps researchers visualize and interact with experimental data.
Cool Image: Antioxidant for Damaged Mitochondria
In a mouse model of Huntington's disease, a synthetic antioxidant improved mitochondrial function and suppressed symptoms of the disease.
By mixing fluorescent dyes, scientists are able to color-code individual chromosomes. The technique allows researchers to visualize genetic abnormalities often linked to disease.
Each point represents the correlation between two sleep-associated genes in fruit flies. Vibrant reds and oranges represent high and intermediate degrees of association between the genes, respectively.