My 27 year old son died in March 2004. He was quadriplegic due to an assault 6 years ago. The hospital said he had a septic infection. He was awake and talking and then they were putting on a respirator and his heart stopped. They got it going t

-A curious adult from Minnesota I am so sorry about the loss of your son. Most likely the DNA from your son won't be able to tell you why your son died; at least not now with our current knowledge. Since I'm not a medical doctor I won't comment specifically on the cause of your son's death. However, the fact that he had a bacterial infection when he was admitted to the hospital is suggestive. Testing your son's DNA will not provide much information about the infection itself. But it might help us understand why it hit him so hard.

I was born in Maine. Can a DNA test establish Native American blood? Would it be enough to file for Native American heritage? Hello. I am a 30 year old woman from Stockton, California. A lot of people have told me that the bone structure by my temp

-Curious adults from California and Guam September 28, 2004 The quick answer is that yes, you can determine whether you have ancestors who are Native American through your DNA. I don't know whether it would be enough to file for Native American heritage though. What scientists would look at is your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and, if you are a male, your Y chromosome. Even if you are not a male, you can look at your dad's, uncle's, or brother's Y chromosome to get an answer.

I recently read that the male Y chromosome used to have 1,438 genes, and only has 45 now. If the chromosome continues to degrade, are men going to go extinct?

- A curious adult from California September 22, 2004 This is an active area of debate right now with no clear answer. Some predict that within a few hundred thousand years, the Y chromosome will disappear completely (along with people if evolution or scientists don't do something about it). Other people think it has stabilized and will be around for a long time to come. Around 300 million years ago, the ancestors of mammals had two X chromosomes. Then, in one of those whiz-bang evolutionary moments, the SRY gene was born on one of these X chromosomes.

When I was a camp counselor a few years back, one of the campers had light hair and a green eye with lighter eyelashes/eyebrows on one side and darker hair and a brown eye with darker eyelashes/eyebrows on the other. Also the lighter side had more

- A curious adult from Georgia September 16, 2004 Sounds to me like your camper was either a mosaic or a chimera. Given her differences, the most likely answer is chimera. Chimeras and mosaics are people who have two sets of cells in their body, each with different DNAs. Mosaics are very common, chimeras are though to be very rare. The difference between the two is how different the DNA is between the different cells. A mosaic has only small DNA changes between each set of cells. In a chimera, each set of cells (and their DNA) is as different as two siblings.

Are there any genetic engineering studies being done to stimulate hair coloring in adults who are grey?

- A curious adult from Texas September 9, 2004 There are some studies that have been done in animals, but for the foreseeable future, humans will have to keep using dyes for their gray hair. The risks of using any sort of engineering on humans right now is so high that any tinkering with our genes is only used in life and death cases. I have seen two mouse studies. The first study was done on albino mice. Hair, skin, and eye color are dependent on a natural pigment called melanin. Albino mice fail to make melanin which is why they are white with red eyes.

I have always wondered what my kids might look like when my boyfriend and I get married. He is a white male, brown natural curly hair, and green eyes; he\'s adorable. He\'s one of many who doesn\'t tan well but gets a reddish tan tint to his skin. I

-A graduate student from Arizona September 9, 2004 It is very difficult to say with any certainty what a child will look like -- basically we can only give what is most likely. I'll give you my best guess based on what you have told me along with some links to find out more. Given your family background, it would be very difficult to predict what a child might look like but here is my best shot. Your kids would most likely have curly hair, darker skin than your boyfriend, brown or lighter colored hair and any possible eye color. Eye color: Any.

Hello, I am trying to understand more about the gene that is responsible for cheek dimples and chin dimples. I understand how a set of parents <i>Dd</i> and <i>Dd</i> could have a child that is dimpleless, but is it genetically possible for a set

September 3, 2004 Wow, you're really interested in clefts and dimples! As with most traits, there hasn't been much research on this topic -- money tends to go to study more health related issues. From what I've read, it seems that there are separate cheek and chin dimple genes. One site even placed them on certain chromosomes -- cheek dimples on chromosome 5 and cleft chin on chromosome 16! I couldn't find any corroborating evidence for this anywhere, though.

I am an Asian Indian woman married to a white American. I recently lost my baby girl due to miscarriage. Since then one of the issues I have been grappling with in my grief is that I cannot visualize what my baby would have looked like. I have thic

-A curious adult from Ohio August 31, 2004 I am so sorry to hear about this. I hope this answer helps. It is very difficult to say with any certainty what a child will look like -- basically we can only give what is most likely. I'll give you my best guess based on what you have told me along with some links to find out more.

Can a couple (one with straight hair, one with curly) have one straight haired child and one curly haired, and one of the children has green eyes and the other blue? Both parents have green. Is this possible?

August 27, 2004

The quick answer is that it is possible for the couple you describe to have kids with blue or green eyes. (Although less likely, it is even possible to have a brown-eyed child.)

In terms of hair type, by the traditional sorts of theories that are out there, it isn't possible for a curly headed and a straight haired couple to have straight haired kids (or, by a strict definition, curly haired kids either!). Of course, genetics is always more complex than the traditional sorts of theories.