Genetic primer course brought to you by New York Times

From junk DNA that, as it turns out, is not so junky after all, to the unique signatures in different cancer genes, our understanding of genetics is changing so rapidly that textbooks can’t always keep up. In this lesson, we offer a collection of teaching ideas using recent Times coverage about how genes work, how we can work with them and where they come from.

Rethinking Junk
For decades, scientists have dismissed the 99 percent of the genome that does not make up our genes as junk, a meaningless strand of As, Ts, Cs and Gs. But it turns out this so-called junk, or noncoding, DNA not only controls the activity of many of our genes, it may also be where new genes come from.

Genes and Geography
As people migrated across the globe throughout history, they took their genes with them. And as people from one location began having children with people from another, their gene pools — the collection of genes a population contains — began to intermix, a process scientists call “genetic admixture.” By tracing this genetic intermixing, scientists and anthropologists have been able to map the major population mixture events of the last 4,000 years across countries and continents.

Read the full, original story: Where Did You Get Those Genes? Researching Advances In Genetics

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