DNA in the Future

by ryan

As some previous posts prove, DNA comes up frequently in our discussions on-line but remains a challenge (at least for me) to present on the floor as one of our daily demonstrations. I think one of the harder parts of the DNA extraction is balancing the level of background information with the “meat” of the demonstration, the experimentation. When we have a cow’s eye or a flower there is an instant level of familiarity. Eyes and flowers are things we notice and observe on a daily basis.

But DNA might be only a few short steps away from becoming an important part of people’s everyday lives in a personal and intense way.

This article in the Saturday paper explained a new process that maps individuals genome, mapping the phenotype to observable and predictive phenomenon.

My Genome, Myself: Seeking Clues in DNA

For about a cool grand, people now can place their DNA into a database and check on all kinds of genetic markers including diseases, intelligence, and where their ancestors came from. Companies like the Google-financed 23andme has a site which teaches some introductory material about DNA to convince consumers that it’s worth the money to see one’s personal genome. I have no idea if this will catch on as a common technique but it does show the ways that companies market scientific technologies to the buying public. The opportunity is there for us to get excited about teaching about DNA as it assuredly will be a part of the lives of the children we work with.