Tag Archives: chromosomes

The Improbability of You: Meiosis Part One

31 Jul

In this video, we talk about how improbable it is that you exist, the durability of genetic information across time, your relatedness to all living this on earth, and your uniqueness. These concepts will lay the foundation for explaining meiosis — the cellular dance that makes you a mosaic of your ancestors who is different from everyone else, even your siblings.


How am I different from my dog?

14 Jan

Fergus smiles

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” –Audre Lorde

My dog, Fergus, is furrier than I am. He detects smells more capably, and with a wetter nose. And, this one’s a biggie, words never come out of his mouth.

But while genes help explain the diversity of life on our planet, they show us to an astonishing degree that all we living things are similar.

Gene for gene, people are said to be more than 99 percent similar, one guy to the next. Related genes in humans and apes are almost as alike. We begin to see more differences when we compare the human genome to the genomes of other animals, like dogs and mice, but not much. The related genes of mice and men are roughly 85 percent the same. Good blog. Fetch!

Cheat Sheet: Genes, Chromosomes and DNA

25 Sep

Nature is the type of cook who is lost without her recipes. Chromosomes are cookbooks, and we have two editions of each.  The recipes are genes.

When we talk about our genes, we are talking about the packages of biological information that we inherit from our parents, and less directly, from our millions of ancestors.

According to the researchers who mapped the human genome, a person has about 20 to 25,000 genes.

Our genes are made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) strung together by the millions to make thread-like strands called chromosomes at the center (nucleus) of almost all of the trillions of cells in our bodies.

We have 46 chromosomes–23 from mom, 23 from dad.  Each set (mom’s and dad’s) contains only slightly different versions of the same genes.  Technically, each version is called an allele (pronounced uh-LEEL).

Our bodies read our genetic “recipes” in order to cook up amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins.  Proteins, in turn, help our bodies to form, grow, heal, move and function.

Explore the “Cheat Sheets” category to read index cards covering the basics of genetics.