Category: genetics 101

Human Prehistory 101: The Newest Video Series from 23andMe!

When 23andMe launched last November, we set out to make genetics accessible to everyone – not just the experts.  So we created a series of education videos called Genetics 101. These videos educated viewers on the basics of genetics:  What is a gene, what is a SNP, how genes are inherited from generation to ...

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Plus ca change … The Mystery of Ultraconserved Elements

Before efforts to sequence the human genome began, scientists thought they’d find about 100,000 protein coding genes in the three billion bases pairs of DNA that are found in almost every cell. But much to everyone’s surprise, the true number turned out to be much lower. It’s now thought that the human ...

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What it Means to be Human

What is it about humans that distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom?  Is it our upright walking?  Our language?  Our love of Reality TV?  Even though we are said to be 99% genetically identical to our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, we clearly differ vastly from them physically ...

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More than Just a Parable: The Genetic History of the Samaritans

Upon hearing the name "Samaritans," many people are immediately reminded of the famous passage from the Gospel of Luke (10: 25-37), the so called ‘Good Samaritan’ parable. Jesus tells of a Levite (a Jew) who is beaten and left on the side of the road. None who pass by the injured man stop to help, save a ...

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Everywhere You Look, There’s DNA!

A few of our favorite tributes to the stuff of life: [minislides] For more, check out The DNA mania Pool! Credits: 1) flickr/maria_keays 2) flickr/yananine 3) flickr/snickclunk 4) flickr/mikewade 5) flickr/mikewade 6) flickr/L. Marie 7) flickr/jpctalbot 8) flickr/mknowles 9) flickr/Thejas ...

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Is That a Peacock Feather under your Coat … Or are You Just Happy to See Me?

An animal's ability to survive often depends on how well it can avoid predators.  Many species of fish, birds, and mammals have evolved ingenious methods of staying hidden from predators by blending into the background in one form or another.  But what about animals that do the opposite?  How and why would ...

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Genes and Languages: Not So Strange Bedfellows?

Throughout the history of our species there has been one constant:  movement.  Since the origin of Homo sapiens nearly 200,000 years ago in East Africa, humans have journeyed around the globe, ultimately inhabiting every continent save Antarctica.Scientists have traditionally used archaeology, and more ...

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The Origin of Farming in Europe: A View from the Y Chromosome

This guest post is by Roy King, who is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a research colleague of Stanford geneticist and 23andMe scientific adviser Peter Underhill. Roy and Peter have been using genetics to trace the spread of agriculture from the Near East to Europe. The question of ...

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I’m No Neanderthal, and Neither Are You

(Ed: Newer research suggests that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals did in fact interbreed. On average, two to four percent of DNA in present-day humans who trace their ancestry from Europe or Asia comes from our Neanderthal cousins. 23andMe customers can check out their own Neanderthal ancestry here! -- ...

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The Answer: Snot

The question: What does DNA look like? While many of the 23andMe scientists have purified DNA more times than we’d like to remember, there are a fair number of people here (on the science team and on the engineering and business teams) who’ve never spent any time at the lab bench. We love all things DNA ...

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