Lessons from the Human Genome Project

by Rebecca Fine figures by Elayne Fivenson The Human Genome Project, one of the most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken, achieved a monumental goal: sequencing the entire human genome. Since its completion in 2003, this project has laid the groundwork for thousands of scientific studies associating genes with human diseases. DNA and the genome: a primer First, let’s talk a little bit about terminology. DNA is … Continue reading Lessons from the Human Genome Project

Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

by Julian Segert figures by Aparna Nathan In Mountain View, California, near the headquarters of Facebook and Google, lies 23andMe, a company that set out to make genetic testing approachable and affordable for the general public. The company started with the goal of providing risk assessments for genetic diseases, but has recently gained more popularity by offering insights into geographical ancestry. 23andMe is unique among … Continue reading Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

School lockers

Our Genes are Not Our Destiny: “Smart Genes” have Tiny Effect on Schooling

Headlines touting a recently discovered link between particular snippets of DNA and academic success skew a complicated (and fascinating) story that’s hidden in our genes. As described in Nature, a team of researchers from all over the world studied the genomes of hundreds of thousands of people and found a correlation between “educational attainment” and specific genetic variations.  This technique, called a genome-wide association study, … Continue reading Our Genes are Not Our Destiny: “Smart Genes” have Tiny Effect on Schooling