Smithsonian’s genetics exhibit inspires mixed review

NewScientist Smithsonian
Image via New Scientist. Credit: Donald E. Hurlbert and James di Loreto/Smithsonian

Dehydrated DNA isn’t much to look at. Yet it unites humans, animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms, making them what they are.

Building an engaging show around something that is crucial and yet fundamentally unexciting to look at is a brave and problematic endeavor. The organizers of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition called Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code try hard to compensate for the visual shortcomings of their subject, offering lessons in how the human genome relates to our health, medicine and ethics, and how the genomes of humans and other creatures compare.

But the exhibit’s explanations of how the human genome actually works flounder.

Read the full, original story here: DNA fails to take off

Additional Resources:

  • Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, Smithsonian Institution
    Learn about the Human Genome Project and click through materials at the exhibition website.
  • Science marches on,” Washington Post
    In this article, the reviewer offers a more positive review, and notes that the exhibit raises more questions than it answers–not necessarily a negative in a museum exhibit.
  • Our Lives on a String,” Wall Street Journal
    Julia Klein links the complexity of questions raised in the exhibition to the complex questions raised by June’s supreme court ruling on gene patents.
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