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 developments, 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.
Our Complicated Relationship With Viruses
Nearly 10 percent of the human genome is made of bits of virus DNA. For the most part, this viral DNA is not harmful. In some cases, we’re finding, it actually has a beneficial impact.
Interview With a Slime Mold: Racing for New Knowledge
We “interview” the slime mold Dictyostelium, which scientists use to study gene function, cell migration and other biological processes.
CRISPR Serves Up More than DNA
Some bacteria use a CRISPR system to spot invading RNAs and store a memory of the invasion event in their genomes.
Finding Adventure: Blake Wiedenheft’s Path to Gene Editing
Learn how this scientist found his way to one of the hottest areas of biology.
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.
Interview With a Scientist: Janet Iwasa, Molecular Animator
In this video interview, Janet Iwasa discusses the process of creating detailed animations that convey the latest thinking of how biological molecules interact.
Evolution and Health: A Conversation With Evolutionary Geneticist Dr. Dan Janes on the Occasion of Charles Darwin's Birthday
Dr. Dan Janes answers questions about Charles Darwin and the role of evolution in health and biomedicine.
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.
Cool Image: A Circadian Circuit
This image shows how time-of-day information flows through the brain of a fruit fly, an organism used to study biological clocks and circadian rhythms.
Cool Image: Tick Tock, Master Clock
A small molecule called VIP, shown in green, enables time-keeping neurons in the brain's central clock to coordinate daily rhythms that influence sleep patterns, hormone levels, body temperature and appetite.
Healing Wounds, Growing Hair
All the hair you can see on your body is non-living, made up of "dead" cells and protein, and it sprouts from living cells in the skin called hair follicle stem cells (red and orange).