About Genetics

Confused by the world of genetics?  The Tech Museum of Innovation is here to help.  Start by giving these seven short pages a read to get a bit of background or as a quick refresher.  Then dive into the rest of the website and learn about the genetic revolution sweeping across all of our lives.  And who knows?  By the end you might understand yourself a little better as well.

What is a Gene?

Look closely at the chromosomes and you'd see that each is made of bundles of looping coils. If you unraveled these coils, you'd have a six-foot long double strand of deoxyribonucleic acid-DNA. A
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How Do Genes Work?

Genes are often called the blueprint for life, because they tell each of your cells what to do and when to do it: be a muscle, make bone, carry nerve signals, and so on. And how do genes orchestrate
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Why We are Different

Biologists use two fancy words to describe the relationship between your genes and your physical traits. The first word is genotype. Your genotype is your genes for a given trait. In most cases,
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Mutations and Disease

DNA is constantly subject to mutations, accidental changes in its code. Mutations can lead to missing or malformed proteins, and that can lead to disease. We all start out our lives with some
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Genetic Testing

Have you ever had your genes tested? Probably not. DNA testing is still pretty limited, although it is becoming more and more common, especially for fetuses and newborns. Many prospective parents,
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Making Medicines

Not long ago, if you were diabetic, the insulin your doctor prescribed would have come from a pig. If you required human growth hormone, it would have come from human cadavers, a source that is
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New Therapies

Many of the worst diseases around are caused by glitches in our genes, and the therapies for these diseases often involve a lifetime of drugs (and their nasty side effects) that help but don't really
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Ethics

The new possibilities created by genetics have brought with them new questions about what is right. An example: genetic testing is, for now, optional. But many medical tests that start out as
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