I have asthma and I was wondering if I would ever grow out of it and also if when I have kids if they would have it as well?

-A high school student from Colorado

About half of all kids with asthma no longer have it by the time they grow up. Even some adults outgrow it later in life, particularly if they have a mild case of asthma.

Asthma does tend to run in families. If your parents had asthma, you are more likely to have asthma too. What this means is that there is increased risk of your children developing asthma. How much?

My father had ankylosing spondylitis. I am 53 years old and have scoliosis and some back pain. Recently I had SI joint X-rays that were normal. What are the odds of me having ankylosing spondylitis?

-A curious adult from New Mexico

When ankylosing spondylitis (AS) runs in your family, the chances of you having AS are about 20% if you're under age 40 and very low if you're over 40. X-rays are the most accurate way to diagnose AS because having the gene for AS does not necessarily mean that you'll have the disease. People who are over 40 with normal x-rays have a very low risk of developing AS.

I can see why you'd be worried about AS, since people with the condition have episodes of back pain to severe, back stiffness, loss of motion and deformity.

Hello- I have a 1 year old son. I would love to have a daughter next. Is there anything that you know of that I can do to push the odds of having a girl???

-A curious adult from New York

People have probably been trying to pick the sex of their kids since time began. For example, in the Middle Ages, men who wanted a boy sometimes had their left testicle removed. This was because people believed that the right testicle made "boy" sperm and the left made "girl" sperm.

Is it known whether poor eyesight (both nearsightedness and farsightedness) is a dominant or recessive trait; or is it yet unknown or a combination of different genes?

-An undergraduate student from Canada

The genetics of poor eyesight are too complicated to be a simple dominant or recessive trait. Something like "nearsightedness" is probably made up of more than one disease and each disease probably has more than one gene involved!

I have acne on my face and my husband doesn't. Is there any likelihood that our children will have acne?

-A curious adult from Nigeria

The chances of your children having acne are higher because one of their parents has acne. A couple of studies have been done that show that acne, like lots of other traits, tends to run in families.

In one study, it was found that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of acne. Does this mean it runs in the family? Not necessarily.

Whose blood do we carry, our moms or dads? Or it doesn\'t matter because it could be from either one?

-A curious adult from Massachusetts

November 18, 2004

Well, your blood is definitely all your own. But because of how the genetics of blood type works, it could seem like you have your mom's blood type, your dad's blood type, or a mix of the two.

For every gene, you get two copies -- one from your mom and one from your dad. Even though the two copies are for the same gene, you can get different versions from each parent. These different versions are called alleles.

Hi! I am doing a science fair project on DNA. I found an article stating that 20 babies were born genetically altered (BBC news). I showed my teacher the article and she has doubts whether the article is actually true. So my question is, is there

-A middle school student from California

November 17, 2004

The answer is that yes, up to 30 genetically altered babies have been born in the U.S. The genetic change is very crude and is actually the result of a fertility treatment.

Some women are infertile because there is something wrong with their eggs. The idea behind this treatment is to put the mother and father's DNA into a new egg.

I realize that humans have 46 chromosomes and chimps 48, but do we (<i>homo sapiens</i>) have more genes or fewer genes than the chimp? And while were on the subject, is the Y chromosome in humans smaller in size than the Y chromosome in chimps, me

-An undergraduate from Wisconsin

November 16, 2004

At the gene level, chimps and people are over 98% the same. Chimps and humans have a different number of chromosomes, but because they are so similar they probably have about the same number of genes. In fact, a close look at chimp and human chromosomes (see below) shows that one of the human chromosomes is really made up of 2 of the chimp chromosomes (or vice versa).