If the last thing you learned about genes was Gregor Mendel’s pea pod experiments, you might want to try this easy to read science book to get up to speed about many fascinating changes in hereditary theory.
For instance, humans have only 20,000 to 25,000 genes, downgraded from a previous estimate of 100,000. In comparison, a tiny water flea--barely visible to our naked eye--has about 31,000.
You’ve heard the word genome in the news and on PBS. Your genome is your full set of genes. Every cell in your body gets a copy of the full set although each cell cannot read all of them. By the way, the word “cell” came from Robert Hooke, the first person who saw them in the 1600s. When he first discovered them under a microscope, they reminded him of monks’ cells.
Other interesting facts about your genome. The chromosomes scientists have discovered have something to do with either inherited diseases or traits. For instance, chromosome 1 is associated with deafness, schizophrenia and maple syrup disease. (You read that right!) If you have red hair, thank chromosome 2. Blue or green eyes? Chromosome 19 is for you. And yes, previously scientists thought that there were only two possibilities for eye color: brown or blue. Those green eyes, they just tagged as a variant of blue.