Online Chatroom Archives

2010 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

The 2010 National DNA Day Moderated Chat was held on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern. NHGRI Director Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. and genomics experts from across the institute and around the nation took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.


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Information - Moderator Welcome to the DNA Day Chatroom 2010! Start sending your questions in. We are looking forward to answering them.


2
What is your favorite part of being a scientist?????
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I think my favorite part is figuring out how things work. it's pretty exciting to know that sometimes you are the only person in the world trying to figure out a specific question.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
3
What is your job as a scientist?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Good Morning! I work in the area of grant funding, so I'm a bit of a bureaucrat. My tasks are most often related to project management, with the most interesting activities involving the identification of new areas of research in genomics.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
4
Why do you like doing what you do?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I definitely love my job. I get to be right at the intersection of where health information gets communicated to the public. I love knowing that I can help people understand how they can improve their health, and do so using some of the most cutting edge research in genetics and genomics.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
5
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
6
What types of questions do you have to answer?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. We answer all types of questions in the DNA Day chatroom! We have experts in the room who can answer questions about basic science, clinical applications of genetics, and ethical issues related to genomics. Send us any of your genomics related questions and chances are we have an expert ready to give you an answer.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
7
What is your favorite thing about the structure of DNA?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I love the symmetry and the way the structure repeats. All on its own, it spirals into infinity. It's art from the universe.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
8
What university did you go to for a career in science?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. I went to two different universities for my career in science, the University of Delaware for my Bachelors and then Northwestern University in Illinois for my Masters. However, you can go to to a lot of different universities for a career in science.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Kris Wetterstrand, M.S. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans.


10
What happens to your skin when you have skin cancer ? What causes the skin to change color ? thank you Da&ML period 2.
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Skin cancer, and all cancers, actually, are caused by cells that are dividing out of control. Skin color is actually determined by how much melanin you have. People with darker skin color have more melanin in the tissue underneath their skin.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
11
What kind of career would you recommend in the science industry?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I would answer this the same way no matter what industry you specified...the most important thing to consider in pursuing a career is to find what interests you, and to find what you can be passionate about.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
12
How does DNA help us out in the field of medicine?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Understanding the genetic (DNA) makeup of a person can help in knowing what diseases they may develop during their life. If we know this, we may be able to reduce their chances of getting the disease or, ideally, prevent them from getting it.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Sarah Harding, M.P.H has entered the chat to help. Take a look at her bio: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public.


14
Is there ways to cure genetic disorders? Have you found a way?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Right now, the best we can do for some genetic diseases is to replace the enzyme or protein that is missing from the body. Gene therapy is a branch of science that can hypothetically correct the problem at the gene level, but we have not yet perfected this process in order to be able to use it in humans.
Lime Mountain in PA (9th grade student)
15
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
16
Do fraternal twins have the same DNA? (TA and VH)
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Fraternal twins share (on average) 50% of their DNA. This is no different than what brothers/sisters who are not twins share.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
17
If you know you have a bad gene, is there a way to get rid of it before passing it on to the next generation?(VH & TA)
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Tough question. We can't get rid of any of our genes, but, there is a way to test an embryo to see if it has that "bad" gene before implanting it in to a potential mother to make a baby. This technology is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
18
Why does DNA use A T G C and RNA use A U G C? RE & DG pr.2
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. The sugar "backbones" of the two molecules are different, which makes them recognized by different enzymes and then fit with U instead of T. The two molecules have very different cell functions, stability, and physical appearance among other things.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
19
What is the best part about your job?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. As a Health Educator at NHGRI, the favorite part of my job is creating genetic resources and fact sheets on our web site for the general public and healthcare professionals. This provides accessible and understandable genetic information, especially for the general public, and the impact this has on their life and their health.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
20
Why do we care about the mapping of DNA?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. There are many good reasons, but one important reason is that one day we hope to be able to target clinical therapy to patients based on their personal genetic code. This will hopefully increase the effectiveness of therapy while decreasing the side effects, costs, and lost time associated with ineffective therapy choices.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Sanja Basaric, B.S. has entered that chat to help out. Take a look at her bio: I currently work in the Policy and Program Analysis Branch within the Office of the Director. My roles include various scientific reporting for the institute on both disease specific topics as well as general advances and institute wide goals, usually involving translation of complex science into lay audience language.


22
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
23
What is metagenomics? Please give its significance in molecular diagnostics to human diseases?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Metagenomics is the study of the the DNA content of a group of organisms that co-exist in one location. For example, environmental genomic studies sample natural habitats, such as water in a reef to examine the DNA of the microorganisms in the sample. For humans, the microbiome represents all the DNA of the microorgansims (including bacteria) on and in the human body. These organisms are thought to be correlated with diseases of the digestive system and skin to name two.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education teacher)
24
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
25
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
26
How do retroviruses like HIV convert their host's DNA to suit their needs?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Retroviruses use enzymes that they carry with them to insert their own DNA into the cell's DNA. The host's replication machinery then starts making a lot of the virus's DNA and proteins and the virus takes over the cell...
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
27
How does knowing about DNA help us in the field of medicine?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. DNA carries the blueprint for how each of us are made. There are a few ways that we study DNA to help us understand diseases. One way is we look at the coding of the DNA in people that have specific diseases, let's say diabetes, to look which genes are different in those affected. If we can figure out which genes are affected then we can analyze what those genes do, how they function, to help us understand why people have diabetes. Hopefully, once we figure out the mechanism of diabetes from the genes we can also figure out new ways to treat them.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
28
what kind of genetic disorders can be prevented because of our knowledge of DNA??
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. If we know a couple is at risk to have a child with a genetic disease, in some cases, we can test the embryo before putting it in to the mother to see if it has inherited the disease gene. We would then only put in those embryos that are genetically healthy. This technology is called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
29
So far, how many microbes that live in and on humans which have been sequenced its genomes? In your sequencing adventures?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. The Human Microbiome Project (funded in the U.S.) and other human metagenomic studies underway around the world have sequenced about 750 bacterial genomes and are working to sequence many more. A number of viral and fungal genomes have also been sequenced.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
30
In a set of identical twins, why do certain twins have one thing wrong with them, but the other may be perfectly fine?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. If twins are identical and one of them had a genetic disorder, the other one should as well. Some conditions are controlled by both genetics and the environment. In those cases, each twin may respond differently to their environment and that may mean one twin develops a certain condition while the other one does not.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
31
E. L. Meyers in PA (9th grade student)
32
Are there going to be more available jobs in the science industry in the future?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Yes, absolutely. Genomics is going to be especially exciting in the future. We've learned a lot about the genome and have a ton of data that needs to be analyzed. The field needs the next generation of scientists to help translate what all of that data means, and to use that knowledge to improve health.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
33
If someone has hazel colored eyes, but the top of them are blue, what could that mean?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. It may not mean anything of importance. It may just be how that persons eyes developed as an embryo. However, there are a few genetic conditions that have this feature. In these cases, there may be other features (some medically important, some not) that may be important to know about. To know whether this feature is important, it might be helpful to have a careful eye examination by an eye doctor (Ophthalmologist).
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
34
Genomics or proteomics? Which is the best to solve problems related to human diseases?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. It has to be both. While proteins are the structural and functional entities in cells, how, when and where proteins are made are directed by DNA sequences. There are also many products of DNA that are not proteins but do affect how the cell functions. So, to understand disease you have to understand both DNA and protein.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education teacher)
35
How many diseases would you say are genetic? And what are they? MG
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Some would argue that all diseases have some genetic component. With greater than 20,000 genes in the human body, there are lots of things that can go wrong. There are diseases that are completely genetic and inherited in families and then there are diseases that may have a genetic component but are also strongly determined by the environment. An example of the first would be sickle cell anemia while the second would be more like diabetes or obesity.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
36
whats the latest info on alzheimers?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. Alzheimer's disease is thought to be a multifactorial disorder, which means that there is definitely a genetic component or predisposition to the disease that can run in families, but most of the time it occurs sporadically, which may be related to some environmental factors. In some families there is a very strong genetic link which follows a dominant inheritance pattern, but these cases are less common.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Dale Lea R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N has entered to chat to help. Take a look at her bio: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals.


38
What encouraged you to go into this feild of study?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. Throughout high school and college I was always interested in biology and eventually genetics. I loved the types of information and research question that could be addressed with genetics and I wanted to use that information to help make a difference for people. I also realized that I really enjoyed interacting with people, so I became a genetic counselor. I get to learn about and study genetics, but also get to help patients understand the information and what it means to them.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
39
Why is DNA Day on April 25th?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. DNA Day is on April 25 because that was the day in 2003 that the genome was finally sequenced. It was also the day in 1953 of Watson and Crick's publication describing the structure of DNA.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
40
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
41
As a teacher, what can I share to my students about the significance of DNA Day? Most of them have never heard of this day at all.
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. There are many reasons to celebrate today! It's the anniversary of the completion of the human genome project - a milestone in our voyage of "inner discovery" as human beings and it's also the anniversary of Watson and Crick's landmark 1953 paper where they identified the structure of DNA. The president himself declared it! Merci!
Joanna Frosst-Harrington in PA (8th grade teacher)
42
Can you develop a genetic disorder overtime or only be born with one? (TA and VH period 2)
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. The short answer is, it depends. There are some genetic disorders that a person will have symptoms of right at birth. An example is phenyketonuria, where people cannot process a specific amnio acid. Other genetic disorders, there are no symptoms until someone is an adult. An example of this is Huntington Disease, which is a degenerative brain disorder.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
43
In the future, will it be possible to choose the gender of our children, and whether you will be able to have twins or select other genetic traits?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. It is now possible to choose the gender of your children by pre-implantation diagnosis and prenatal diagnosis. Families may choose to undergo these procedures when there is a genetic condition that affects a particular gender, such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. You can tell if you have a genetic predisposition to having twins through your family history. In the future it may be possible to select embryos that have certain genetic traits.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
44
This is so exciting! Been here for 2 years. Anyway, is extracting DNA from dinosaurs (Presumably damaged) is harder than extracting DNA from fruits?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Yes, because is it damaged and most likely low in quantity the steps to extract the DNA are more tricky. Getting DNA from fruit is more easy because you start with a lot more material.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
45
When did you start to study genetics?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. I first learned about genetics in high school biology classes, then took my first dedicated biology course in college. I liked it so much that I started working on a genetic research project with one of my professors in college. I've been studying genetics ever since!
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
46
What are some good careers for a person who's interested in chemistry and microbiology?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The best way I can answer this question is to point you to NHGRI's new online career resource. There are videos and descriptions of a whole bunch of different career options. http://www.genome.gov/genomicCareers/
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
47
What is the easiest way to remember the complementary base pairs?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I'm sure people have different ways to remember, but one option is to remember that G and C are both curvy letters, so they go together. That leaves A to pair with T.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
48
Did you have trouble with genetics when you first learned about it in high school? fa p2
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. I really liked the problem solving that comes with looking at molecular crosses - like Mendel's pea experiments. I also happen to like statistics which also plays a significant role in understanding genetics. I just find it really interesting.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Vence Bonham, J.D. has currently entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: I currently research the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genomic discoveries, particularly health professionals' and lay persons' understanding of race, ethnicity and genetics.


50
What kind of chemicals influence the "switches" of the epigenome?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. This is an area of science that we're only beginning to understand. There are the enzymes that do the modifications themselves such as acetylases and methylases, there are signaling molecules in the cells that activate and deactivate these enzymes etc. The different scenario in the cells really control the epigenomic modifications that ensue.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
51
What is the best way to celebrate DNA Day?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. In the DNA Day chatroom of course! Lots of people celebrate DNA Day in many different ways. Some invite a speaker to their classroom, some take a look at an interesting experiment, others take a look at the many awesome resources on www.genome.gov.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
52
Why are GMO crops approved for animal feed, but not for animal consumption?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. I presume you mean human consumption (?). I think it's a matter of making sure that GMO crops are safe for humans to eat.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
53
How are scientists working to find cures to genetic diseases? ac&kh p2
     Robin Troxell, M.S.: I see high risk prenatal patients with the MFM OB. I also coordinate the monthly outreach pediatrics genetics clinic for the University of Missouri. Scientists are using many different ways to help people with genetic diseases. New drugs like Kuvan help people with mild PKU eat more normally, while others benefit from IV infusions of enzymes they are missing.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
54
how can genetic variation and mutations relate to each other? RE and DG pr.2
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. While we are still learning how genes interact, we suspect that gene products (proteins) interact with each other to influence a person's health and risk for diseases in the future. So having (or not having) a variation may influence the expression of a mutation within a completely different gene. This may result in making the disease less, or possibly more, severe.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
55
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
56
If parents who do In Vitro Fertilization have a genetic condition, can doctors remove it?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Great question! They cannot remove it, but in some cases, they can do what's called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) where they test the embryos for the condition and only implant the embryos that are unaffected.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
57
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
58
Is the DNA testing done on NCIS (TV criminal investigation show), the actual truth?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. The kind of testing on NCIS (and other TV shows) is quite close to reality in terms of capability, however the speed at which these tests take place is (by necessity) greatly accelerated compared to reality. It slows down the pace of a TV show if the characters have to wait 3 weeks for a DNA test!
La Salle in NE (9th grade student)
59
I have just read about selective breeding in my class. Can you give me an example of selective breeding? RE & DG pr.2
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Dog breeds. Compare a Great Dane to a Chihuahua. Humans used selective breeding create different types of dogs.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
60
Do you need to be extremely good with math to be a scientist?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. I wouldn't say you have be extremely good at math. You may have to take calculus, physics, and statistics in high school and college. The type of math that you need to do and your ability in math as a scientist really depends on your field within the world of science.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
61
Do Females have more DNA than Males?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Technically, yes...females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y. The X chromosome is longer than the Y chromosome...so added together, females have a bit more
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
62
Why do people need medical history about heridity diseases when applying for a job? JR
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. An employer should NOT ask or need to know about medical history of inherited diseases when someone is applying for a job. An employer is not allowed to use this information to decide whether or not to hire someone. A federal law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), was passed by congress in 2008 that made it illegal for employers to use any genetic information (including a family history of a disease) to make employment decisions.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
63
How is knowledge about DNA useful to us?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. It has been incredibly helpful in many areas of science, and the determination of the genetic code is probably one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in all of human history. For example, we are able to more accurately trace the origins of mankind using DNA, can determine which portions of DNA are highly-conserved across different species, and can now easily, accurately, and relatively cheaply diagnose hundreds of diseases using DNA testing. Many of those diagnoses allow patients to not only have an answer for why they experience certain medical problems, but allow them to know the risks that their family members will also develop the same condition or allow for important treatment and monitoring earlier in the course of disease.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
64
Are the things they do on NCIS with DNA actually true?
     Robin Troxell, M.S.: I see high risk prenatal patients with the MFM OB. I also coordinate the monthly outreach pediatrics genetics clinic for the University of Missouri. DNA can be used to identifiy victims of crimes, or to identify suspects. However, most of the examples on NCIS and CSI are very expensive, and take much longer than on TV. For example, it usually takes a lab about two weeks to run a DNA sample, and most labs are backlogged with cases and may not be able to analyze the sample for at least a year.
La Salle in NE (9th grade student)
65
Why does RNA use Uracil, instead of Thymine? Does it have to do with making RNA unstable since it is only used for temporary reasons?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Practically, the answer is in the backbone, DNA and RNA have different sugars in their structure. Functionally, they do different jobs in the cell, and the different bases (and backbones) allow different conformations, regulations (which is where stability comes from) and cellular locations.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
66
My class recently watched a video about the role of epigenetics in influencing the developement of human diseases and disorders. How will this research affect medical treatments, especially preventive medicine?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. This is a very complex question, and a good one. As you know, epigenetics is the study of all of the factors that influence the phenotype outside of the genetic code. Remember phenotype is how we look and also our risk of genetic diseases. These epigenetic factors may include the way the DNA is folded or additions made to its primary code, for example by methylation. The approach to linking a specific epigenetic factor with a disease state would be to gather individuals with that disease and look at the epigenetic factor in those affected. If a specific epigenetic factor can be correlated, then perhaps scientists can develop a strategy to alter this epigenetic factor in affected people which could make them better, this would be a novel therapeutic approach. As for using epigenetics for preventive medicine, perhaps there is an epigenetic factor that impacts the risk someone has for a disease, let's say cancer. Then, if we knew that someone had this epigenetic factor then we could screen them earlier for signs of the cancer.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
67
When did DNA Day become a holiday?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. National DNA Day became a holiday in April 2003. The holiday was started to celebrate the successful completion of the Human Genome Project and the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
68
When was DNA discovered?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. DNA was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher in 1869. Its structure was first described in 1953, by Watson and Crick.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
69
How do you interpret the DNA coding?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. There are certain patterns that one can look for in DNA - certain types of nucleotides are together and mean certain things. We can look for patterns that we know are coding (protein-making).
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
70
East Haven High School in CT (9th grade student)
71
Does any other school celebrate DNA day like our school does? We even make tee shirts, and model them! What do you guys do?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. That is so great that you guys make t-shirts! We would love to hear from other classrooms out there about what they do for DNA Day!
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
72
West Chester University in NY (Higher Education teacher)
73
What does methylated cytosine do in the DNA?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Methylation is a type of epigenetics. Chemical groups are attached to the DNA molecule and are involved with directing what segments of DNA are 'turned on' at certain times.
Lime Mountain in PA (9th grade student)
74
Why is it that everyone in my family can tan but whenever I try to tan, nothing happens except myself burning and going back to this lovly shade of pale, is that something in my DNA?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Without knowing more, your "tanning" ability might be influenced by your genetic make-up. Your family members may have "versions" of genes related to tanning (pigmentation) that you do not share with them. Bottom line......wear sun screen!
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
75
How can DNA be extracted from cells?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. You break the cells open, use a detergent to remove the membranes, and then use an alcohol to precipitate the DNA. There are some great instructions online for DNA extraction from strawberries that you can try at home.
East Haven High School in CT (9th grade student)
76
I was in my science class one day and we were doing punnet squares. I was wondering if there are genes for characteristics like being kind or being a tempered person to determine how the baby's going to act? E.F.
     Robin Troxell, M.S.: I see high risk prenatal patients with the MFM OB. I also coordinate the monthly outreach pediatrics genetics clinic for the University of Missouri. Traits like temper, or kindness, probably have many different small genetic components, and are also influenced by a child's upbringing. There is no way to sort out the genetic vs environmental (nature vs nurture) factors to predict these things.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
77
Has working in the science field inspired you in any way? jr
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. It has inspired me personally in many ways. One of the great aspects of my job is that I get to work with the exciting and ever-advancing field of science and genetics, but I also get to work with patients on a daily basis. I find every one of my patients has an interesting perspective and unique challenges, and the incredible opportunity to be with them as they embark on their own personal journey is incredibly inspiring.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
78
Phyllis Frosst, Do you have and important information to share about DNA that people may not know?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Hellllooooooo Brownsville. Did you know that your DNA can be used to help your doctor determine which drugs may work or not work best for you? Which treatments may help you get better faster? Which side effects you can avoid?
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
79
East Haven High School in CT (9th grade student)
80
What diseases have been linked to the DNA code?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. There are a lot of diseases that have been linked to the DNA code. For some, we know exactly where in the DNA a mutation, or change, has occurred can cause the disease. Examples include cystic fibrosis, some cancers, and hemophilia. For many diseases, we know that there is a DNA code link, but we just don't know exactly what the gene or genes are yet. Examples of theses are diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
81
What's the average amount of DNA in humans?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. 3 billion bases per cell. Plus the DNA in the microbes on and in our bodies. Plus the DNA from the insects on our bodies.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
82
What compacts DNA besides histons? dg
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. There are interactions in the DNA itself that help to compact DNA. Histones are the first step, the DNA wraps around them, but then the histone wrapped DNA coils around itself too.
East Haven High School in CT (9th grade student)
83
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
84
If a person has a type of cancer that they have a genetic predisposition for, such as breast cancer, is chemotherapy a way of removing the genes so they get better or they don't get cancer at all? Are there ways to remove the gene so, if a person knows they have it, they can get it removed and their risk of getting cancer will go down? M.L. + D.A. P2
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Unfortunately, there is not a way to remove genes or alter/fix them at this time. In the scenario you mentioned, with a predisposition to breast or ovarian cancer, we can test a person with a family history of these cancers and if they have a genetic predisposition recommend prophylactic surgeries (masectomy, removal of the ovaries) which will significantly reduce their risk of cancer, but the gene will still be there. Thanks for your question!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
85
Good morning- I recently graduated with a BS in Biochem and have worked in a lab for my entire high school and college career. Upon graduation, I realized the job market was not good and opted to go back to school for an MBA, which I am almost done completing. I miss science (especially genomics) with a passion but I do not want to work in the lab aspect. I would love to integrate the business part to the genomics. Do you know what kind of entry positions are available to someone like me?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. I am not an expert on the business side of genomics, but perhaps a job with a commercial genetics laboratory or biotechnology company helping with marketing or the business side.
Alex in MA (Higher Education student)
86
Has DNA changed or become more complex since it was first discovered?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. DNA itself hasn't changed in a long long time - dinosaurs had it!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
87
How is it that one identical twin can have autism, but the other is perfectly normal?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. Autism is considered a complex disorder that is possibly caused by a combination of factors which may include genetic and other factors. Identical twins may have identical genetic codes however their epigenetic factors may be different. They also may have been in a different position in the womb, changing all of those influence that happen even before we are born. Also, although one of twins may also have had a change in their DNA very early in their development but after they spit from their twin. I am sure there are many other reasons, but it is an important reminder that we are all different and we have a long way to go before we understand everything that influences our development. By the way, you have picked up on a very important strategy to study genetic disorders, looking at how twins differ. This strategy has been used for many years to study many different disorders.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
88
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
89
If a person is XX or XY, yet they have the feeling that they were born the wrong sex and desire a transgender operation are there any genetic codes that could cause this?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Good question. While we don't yet understand all of the genetic influences of gender identification, there are likely to be genetic "codes" which make a person feel they relate better to a gender which is different than their physical make-up.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
90
What are some advances in stem cell research? How effective are stem cells at helping cancer patients? M.L. + D.A. P2
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Stem cell research is ongoing and has been most useful, so far, in the areas of organ donation and tissue regeneration. At this time, I am not sure what, if any applications, there are for the treatment of cancer.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
91
What kinds of jobs involve DNA study?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Take a look at NHGRI's new online career resource in genetics...www.genome.gov/genomiccareers. There are videos and descriptions of careers ranging from doctors, nurses, scientists, ethicists...lots of genome related careers!
East Haven High School in CT (9th grade student)
92
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
93
Our teacher said she can give us fruit snacks for DNA Day,or maybe we can go get a cake at Kroger and have them put DNA RULES on it! That's what we do. :)
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I love that. Use the fruit snacks to build a DNA model!
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
94
My Human Genetics class is currently enjoying DNA decorated foods and wearing DNA T-shirts to celebrate DNA Day!
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. That is a great way to celebrate DNA Day!
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade teacher)
95
What equipment do you use in the study of DNA?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. There's a lot of cool equipment that we use to study DNA, the most technologically advanced these days are DNA sequencers. They're faster, more robust and can sequence more DNA than ever before. We also use robots, PCR machines, gel electrophoresis and many more.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
96
Do we retain any of the genes of our ancestors, such as dinosaurs? D.S, F.A per2
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. There have been numerous studies to determine what parts of our genetic code are conserved across species. Primates are our closest relatives, while lizards and birds would be very distant genetically. Modern lizards and birds surely have some stretches of DNA that are similar to those of their long-ago ancestors, such as dinosaurs.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
97
Is the 'fatso' gene real?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. There are likely to be genes which influence obesity; a few such genes have been identified and are being studied to learn more about how they influence weight.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
98
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
99
Can you tell a baby's genes before it is born
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. There are some tests that we can do while the mother is pregnant that tell us about the baby's chromosomes (CVS and amnio). If we know to look for a specific genetic disease, we can also test for that using the same procedures, but we cannot look at all of a baby's genes.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
100
Why are genomes of animals, organisms sequenced?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. By comparing the genomes of different organisms to each other, we can identify regions that have been conserved (kept) over evolutionary time. These conserved segments are often very important - in other words they do something (code a protein, regulate the expression of proteins, etc.) in the cell. After identifying these regions through the genome comparison,then scientists can study the regions to figure out what it does.
Jerrell in MD ()
101
Can we mix animal DNA with human DNA? M.L + D.A P2
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Well, we can mix peanut butter with jelly so we can really mix almost any two things together, but I think what you're asking is if you can combine DNA from two organisms and yield another organism, then the answer is that it's technically not an impossibility, but that whether it's something that we should do is a question for ethicists and society.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
102
Sue Brezin in PA (5th grade student)
103
What kind of data do you get when you do experiments with DNA?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. When we do experiments with DNA, the data we get depends on the type of experiment we're doing. I'll give you two examples, but there are a more examples too. Sometimes, we are doing experiments to see the sequence, or the order of the bases (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine). So the data we get is a bunch of A's, C's, T's, and G's. Other times, we are doing experiments with DNA to see how DNA works because we may be trying to figure out how a disease develops. In these cases, the results would be how quickly did x disease happen when a part of the DNA was changed.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
104
what do you like most about your career?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I really like that every day is different. I never know what scientific paper is going to be published, what request is going to come in from congress or what meeting or talk I'll learn something new from. I also really like working with people who have different skills than my own such as doctors and journalists.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
105
What different species have similar DNA? And does this have anything to do with the theory of evolution? m.p. p2
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. All species have similar DNA. Some species are more similar, humans and chimps for example. Yes, this has everything to do with evolution. DNA is similar because species evolved from a common ancestor.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
106
Is it possible for two twins to come out looking exactly the same. Like every single DNA are the similar? E.F
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. Identical twins do have the same DNA sequence. In identical twins, one egg and one sperm came together to form an embryo. Very early in the embryo's development, it split to become two embryos that each developed into a baby. So, both babies were made from the same genetic material and have the same DNA sequence. The reason identical twins still may look a little different from one another and have different personalities is that their environments will be a little bit different and there may be other differences, like variability in where and when molecules attach to their DNA sequences.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
107
What exactly is involved in the study of genetics?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Studying genetics involves identifying genes and finding out what they are responsible for.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
108
When did you first become interested in DNA???
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. In college. I was very interested in how organisms are related to each other and I liked math, so I ended up studying molecular evolution and population genetics.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
109
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
110
Do we know everything there is to know about DNA, or are there still things to be found out about DNA? MG p.2
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Wow - there's so much more to know! Our understanding of our own genome is (relatively speaking) in its infancy. We're pretty good at understanding how genes code for proteins, but the role of everything else the subject of a lot of really interesting research - check out the ENCODE project on genome.gov for some ongoing work.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
111
What is the most challenging part of your career?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. I sometimes find it challenging to keep up with all the new advances in genetics. It is a fast moving field, so there is always something new to learn. But that is also what makes it interesting and exciting!
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
112
What made you want to have a career in science?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I am profoundly interested in the natural world - ecology, biology, evolution. It probably started with growing up in Florida and snorkeling. I love fish and reefs.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
113
Why is mitochondrial DNA transferred only from the mother why not the father?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Sperm does not contain mitochondrial DNA and therefore, it does NOT get passed along; only the egg (mother) can pass along mitochondrial DNA.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
114
How can DNA, made up of only 4 different bases, encode the information necessary to specify the workings of an entire organism?D.S F.A per 2
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. The presence of only four different bases sounds very simple, however as you point out, organisms are very complex. Over the stretch of thousands of base pairs in a unique sequence, thousands upon thousands of unique proteins and enzymes are created, which form the molecular building blocks of the organisms we see every day. Even sequences of DNA that seem similar can create different products by being cut, folded, or modified in different ways.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
115
My mom says she can never fit her genes. Can you fix her DNA so she can fit them?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Unfortunately, no...your genes pretty much stay the same from the day you are born. It's your environment that can change...Tell her to buy bigger pants.
James Woods Elementary in MA (5th grade student)
116
Is it hard to be a scientist?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I think it's hard to do anything really well. Being a scientist means that the background for your field is constantly changing and evolving so you're always having to keep up with what's new.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
117
How will further research on the role of telomeres affect our understanding and ability to combat cancer?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. You have picked up on a very hot topic in the science of cancer. As you know, telomeres are pieces of DNA at the end of a chromosome that "cap" it and protect the chromosome from degenerating. It keeps chromosomes separate from each other so that they don't fuse of transfer genetic material back and forth. If a chromosome loses its telomere then the cell dies. The problem in cancer is that the cells replicate and grow relentlessly, out of control. Cancer cells seem to have found a way to avoid the cell death that accompanies short telomeres. In many cases this is because they activate the enzyme telomerase which protects their telomeres and the cells live on. If we could change the cancer cells ability to activate telomerase then we may be able to find a new strategy to fight cancer.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
118
What is the hardest part of your job? JR
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The hardest part is remembering that science takes a long time...you have to be patient in waiting to find the results you are hoping to get, or for something to translate into a potential cure.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
119
Can you change the way you look by altering your DNA? lf
     Vence Bonham, J.D.: Vence Bonham researches the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genomic discoveries, particularly health professionals' and lay persons' understanding of race, ethnicity and genetics. Not really. How you look comes from such a complicated developmental process, it would be very hard to change things. Besides we would have to know how to do it, which we don't fully, and we have to do it at a very early stage in development.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
120
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
121
What is the proof that we may have evolved from monkeys? E.F
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Technically, we didn't evolve from monkeys, but we do share a common ancestor. Analysis of the genomes of primates shows a pattern of changes that can only be explained by the accumulation of gradual changes over very long periods of time (evolution).
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
122
what is the best way for me to study for a test about DNA and RNA ? m.b.
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. my advice would be to focus on understanding the big picture of how dna and rna work...it helps to understand the larger concepts, rather than just memorizing terms. A great resource is the Genetic Science Learning Center: learn.genetics.utah.edu/
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
123
For RNA Day we should make a little puppet show starring Robbie the rRNA ribsome who builds the proteins, Tommy the tRNA who trucks the amino acids to Robbie, and Margie the mRNA that sends the message to Robbie.
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. This is brilliant!
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
124
What causes freckles?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Freckles appear due to a combination of factors which includes have genes (DNA) which affects skin "pigmentation" as well as environmental factors such as sun exposure.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
125
Is there a way to pick what eye color your child has through genetic engenering (not naturally) ? Thank you DA&ML period 2
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. Your question is a fairly common question, and the type of thing you read about in the popular press, novels or you might see in a movie. In reality, genetic researchers are focussing on much more important issues like the diseases of our time (cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) which brings the power of modern genetics to bear on things that most people would agree really matter. Great question. I hope I answered it in a way that puts it in the context of genes and human health.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
127
What are some of the major differences between DNA and RNA that many people may not know? m.p. p2
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I think most people are pretty savvy about the differences between nucleic acids, honestly, but I suppose there are folks out there who don't know that DNA and RNA have different sugars in their backbones, are single vs double stranded, have different bases and have different stabilities.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
128
Is it possible to make a werewolf?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. Long answer: There have been experiments that combine genes from one species with the DNA of another, so it could be feasible to integrate a specific wolf gene into the human DNA. However, such experiments using humans would likely never be allowed. Short answer: We already have. Who do you think works at Area 51?
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
129
Can we use skin microbiota to prevent from Malaria?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Not likely. Malaria is an infection of the blood, not skin. Perhaps if skin was impervious to mosquitoes then malaria wouldn't be transferred. But if skin was impervious to mosquito bites, I predict a lot of other problems would occur.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
130
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
131
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
132
Is it possible that my mom's smoking will affect future generations? Or will me breathing in the secondhand smoke be a greater factor?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. I can understand how this can be a tough situation. First, we think of the impact of the "secondary" smoke, the smoke that is in the air when someone is using a cigarette. Minimizing your exposure to secondary smoke is very important for your lungs as well. Open the windows, have mom smoke outside, if she will and remind her how this may impact you. It is also important that you avoid smoking as well, the affects on ones health are undeniable. When a mother smokes while she is pregnant this may cause the fetus in the womb not to grow as well, these moms may have smaller babies. I do not know of any direct evidence of genetic changes on the baby, which are caused teratogenic changes, but this is an important area of study.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
133
Why is genetic engineering important to the study of bio? RE & DG pr.2
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Genetic engineering is the application of molecular techniques to an organism's DNA. A good example is the production of human insulin, used to treat people with diabetes, which would be nearly impossible without genetic engineering.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
134
How do you look at genes? JR
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. To look at genes, we need to go to the lab. First we need to know which gene we are looking for. Once we have that, we can pick it out of DNA with a primer, which finds out gene by it a part of its sequence (the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine) and attaches to it. Once we find the gene we are looking for, we can do the test or experiment we want.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
135
When to use genomics and when to use metagenomics? Is there any special advantage of use of metagenomics instead of genomics?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. It's not really and either/or question. Metagenomics is just a type of genomics, where you study samples that contain many different organisms.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
136
What do you think about my DNA haiku?<br> DNA is rad<br>I have lots of DNA<br>G-T-A-C WOW!
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. DNA day rocks!
every year we celebrate
ask us more questions!
Sue Brezin in PA (5th grade student)
137
What are the new advances in genetics?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. There are exciting new advances in risk factors for lung cancer, diabetes and brain cancer that have come out in the past few months.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
138
How many years of education did you need to get to where you are?
     Robin Troxell, M.S.: I see high risk prenatal patients with the MFM OB. I also coordinate the monthly outreach pediatrics genetics clinic for the University of Missouri. To become a genetic counselor, I went to college for four years to get a bachelor of science in biology. I then got a Master's degree specifically for genetic counseling which took two years, for a total of six years of education.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
139
Will humans eventually be able to guide our own "evolution" through genetic changes such as longer lifespan, greater athletic ability, or other "improvements"?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Such manipulations of our genetic make-up may be possible, but the more important question is whether we, as humans, should use genetic/genomic knowledge for anything except to prevent or reduce disease. What do you think?
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)

Information - Moderator Emily Smith, M.S. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences,


141
How do I get DNA out of my body? I only want RNA.
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. unfortunately this is not advisable...gotta keep the dna around...otherwise what would we do every april 25th?
RP Highschool in NJ (6th grade student)
142
When a person has cancer, why can't doctors find the gene that causes it and remove it so the cancer goes away? M.L. + D.A. P2
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. The majority of cancer is not due to a genetic cause. Most cancer is either sporadic or due to an environmental exposure, so there would be no gene to look for. In the rare instances of inherited cancer, the altered gene is in every cell of the body, and we do not have the ability to remove specific genes from our cells.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
143
What is our common ancestor with monkeys? My classmate told me it's "Ida", but I have no idea.
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. The short answer is that we don't yet really know. Scientists think it may be a 47 million year old ancient primate, whose fossils have been found.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
144
Are there any other types of nucleic acids? E.F.
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. It has been theorized that life may exist in the universe that is based on silicon instead of carbon, which would have different molecules in the place of nucleic acids. Also, there are both natural and artificial nucleic acids, so I'm sure scientists will be able to make additional artificial nucleic acids in the future.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
145
How do gene mutations cause disease?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. When mutations occur, they can change the code for the specific protein the cell is supposed to produce. This can either cause the cells to do things they are not supposed to, or, because of the lack of production of the needed protein, it can prevent the cell from carrying out its biochemical pathway.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
146
Why did you take interest in DNA?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. I love organisms. How plants and animals work. Why certain species are in different places. DNA is fundamental to all of this, since it is the information that directs biology.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
147
Why is it that people experience such bad migraines, and is there something to help avoid them?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. Migraines are complicated and can be caused by many different factors. Most important if someone suffers from migraines they should be followed by a physician that has experience with migraine treatment, perhaps an Internist or a Neurologist. There are medications and lifestyle changes that may help to prevent and treat migraines, again best recommended by an expert.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
148
I am studying of human oral microbiome of marathi population of Nagpur. I want to continue it for Masters and research project in US. Can I bring these DNA samples from India to US ?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. I'm afraid this is a outside my knowledge. There certainly are rules and regulations governing the import of biological samples into the US. It would be a good idea to find out.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
149
If 2 DNA scientists mate, will they have a super boring kid that will get beat up in school?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Well, that's where the combination of genes and environment comes into play. The resulting child will likely be short sighted (so will need glasses), clutzy (so will break the glasses and need to fix them with tape) and will be extra smart so will likely be beat up by jealous colleagues. On the plus side, it's likely that they'll go on to be highly successful after college and will get to order fries from their high school bullies as adults.
Sue Brezin in PA (5th grade student)
150
If DNA molecules did not replicate (make a copy) what would our DNA become? Would it still be turned into a double helix?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. DNA replication is a part of cell growth and division. So if DNA doesn't do its job by replicating at all or even correctly, then cells die. The double helix of DNA is not dependent on replication.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
151
How close are we to finding a cure for cancer?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. Complicated, but good, question. Cancer is generally caused by rapidly dividing cells that are no longer under the control of the cell machinery. To "cure" cancer, we would have to address what has caused this problem to occur and how to override it. Since this is easier said than done, it's very difficult to pinpoint how long it might take to completely address the problem.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
152
Since the DNA structure of humans has been mapped, are we any closer to cloning humans?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. We are not close to cloning humans. The NHGRI has an Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Branch that looks closely at these kinds of issues.
Valley View Middle School in MN (7th grade student)
153
Will we be able to "fix" DNA so that there won't be any more people with developmental disabilities in the world?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. It's hard to tell what the future holds, but our scientific advances continue to accelerate. I think a key thing to think about, is whether "fixing" people with developmental disabilities is something that we (or they) would want to do. I think the better plan is to accept all people as they are and appreciate them for their abilities and not their limitations.
James Woods Elementary in MA (5th grade student)
154
Which type of genomics tools are useful in strain level identification?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. I presume that you mean strain identification of bacteria. This is commonly done by examining the sequence of the gene that produces proteins that make up the ribosome in the bacteria. So, sequencing, a genomic tool, can be very useful in strain identification.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
155
Do all the family membvers have the same amount of lactase protein?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Not necessarily. It will depend on what genes they have inherited related to Lactase. Family members may have very different levels.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
156
Do all the family membvers have the same amount of lactase protein?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. The lactate protein is encoded by the LCT gene. Most family members would have the same number of genes, however whether the LCT gene encodes for a functional lactate protein may be different in each individual member. This lack of protein seems to influence lactose intolerance.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
157
What is cutting-edge science?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. If you asked 100 people you would probably get 50 different responses to this question. My feeling is that cutting-edge by definition is something that's never been done or that pushes the boundaries of what society currently accepts. For example, 30 years ago almost no one was performing in-vitro fertilization/assisted reproduction because both the science wasn't perfected and society largely resisted such advances, so it was cutting-edge at the time. Now it's become a basic procedure and is mostly accepted, so it's no longer cutting-edge.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
158
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
159
How are genes responsile for protein shape?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Genes code for RNA which is translated to protein. The sequence of the amino acids of the protein determine how it "folds" and hence its shape.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
160
Should athletes alter their oxygen level for the Olympics? Can they?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. From an ethical standpoint, no, they should not alter their oxygen level for the Olympics, nor can they at this point in time.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
161
Is it possible to perform molecular screening of any bacteria without genomics tools?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. My feeling is that, by definition, genomic tools are required for molecular screening.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
162
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
163
Do you think we can make genes so that people can have superpowers?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. We're nowhere near the kind of understanding of genes that would be allow us to "make" genes, much less those that code for superpowers. For now, the best way to obtain superpowers is to be bit by a radioactive spider, get irradiated with gamma rays or to come from another planet.
James Woods Elementary in MA (5th grade student)
164
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CLASSES YOU NEED TO TAkE IN COLLEGE TO BECOME A SCIENTIST?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. It really depends on what area of scientist you want be. If you are a neuroscientist, you may take some of the same classes as a biochemist or a geneticist, but you will also take classes more specialized for your particular science. In general, some of the classes you may have to take to be a science major it college are: biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus.
Northern high school in MI (11th grade student)
165
How can knowledge about genetics be used to prevent the evolution of "superbugs" that are resistant to antibiotics?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Well, if we know what gene sequences are involved in antibiotic resistance in the superbugs, it might be possible to figure out new antibiotics to counteract the bugs.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
166
Is DNA Day celebrated internationally?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. We think so, we certainly get questions from all over the world. In the US, DNA Day was officially declared by congress and the president - it would be great to ask your government to declare a new holiday!
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education teacher)

Information - Moderator Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling.


168
Is that a gamble? Of being exposed to gamma rays to either get superpowers or simply, die?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. It's not something I would recommend. I think it's up to each proto-superhero to decide if the risk benefit ratio is worth it for them.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
169
Is there such a thing as a Y-linked disorder?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. There are conditions that can be caused by a deletion of a gene on the Y chromosome (the SRY gene in particular). It's different from an X-linked disorder since both genders do not have a Y. Also, there are so few transcribed genes on the Y chromosome that its impact (outside of the SRY region) tends to be less clinically significant.
Lisa (teacher)
170
What are some examples of mitochondrial DNA-based disorders/diseases?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. Mitochondrial diseases are a group of disorders caused by changes in the genes that code for proteins in the mitochondria. These genes are coded by DNA in either the mitochondria itself or the nucleus. Because mitochondria are important to help us generate energy in our bodies individuals with mitochondrial disorders may have symptoms in many different organ systems including brain, muscle, liver, eye and kidney. In fact, when a physician sees a child with problems in all of these areas they think of looking for the cause at the level of the mitochondria. There is a list of mitochondrial diseases on the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation website at: http://www.umdf.org/site/c.otJVJ7MMIqE/b.5472191/k.BDB0/Home.htm Also, there is a list in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man which is a terrific link to a compiled list of all genes and genetic disorders. Google OMIM and you will link to this site.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
171
Why is the percent of AIDS higher in the African American community? Is it because of genes?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. There are many factors that influence the risk of a person becoming infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Most of the factors are not genetic however. Co-existing medical conditions that compromise the immune system, socio-economic status, education, and access to health care all play into a population's frequency of infection.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
172
How close do you think we are to curing cancer?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. We are making great progress in understanding what causes cancer and treatments have dramatically improved. Some cancers have treatments which may not cure, but make a dramatic difference.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
173
What is the most interesting thing about your job and about DNA? M.P. p2
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. I am a health educator at NHGRI. The most interesting aspect of my job is creating educational materials for the general public about genetics and how it applies to health and disease. The most interesting thing about DNA is its role in health and disease, as well as individuals' physical and personal traits.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
174
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
175
What are the conditions in your body that causes you to retain water?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Many different things can cause the body to retain water. Some of the more common medical conditions include kidney disease, heart failure, cirrhosis, and pregnancy.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
176
What is genetics?
     Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease. Genetics is the study of the DNA in the cells of living organisms and how that DNA determines the traits of that organism (for example what it looks like and how its body functions). It is also the study of how the DNA and resulting traits are passed to an organism's offspring.
Holy Ghost Prepatory in PA (12th grade student)
177
What are the other ethically good source of stem cells? Other than recently fertilized egg? (Since that is unethical, means killing)
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. So, there are many different kinds of stem cells. Your bone marrow is full of stem cells that differentiate into all the cells of your blood. Technically, a stem cell is any cell able to differentiate into a different cell as well as make more of itself. If you're talking about embryonic stem cells, which are the cells with the potential to become any cell in the body and hence the have the most potential to cure disease, then there is a field of research that is trying to create cells with the same potential - these are called induced pleuripotent stem cells.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
178
If I get a mutation that deletes a sequence coding for a stop codon, will my cells keep producing this super-long neverending protein that clogs up my body and kills me?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. Interesting question. Eventually another stop codon will come along that will terminate the sequence, but you will still wind up with a protein that is longer than normal. As a result, it will either be unstable, causing it to deteriorate or it will possibly be disease-causing.
Joseph Pantalones in PA (10th grade student)
179
What inspired you to become a scientist?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. When I was my high school biology class, the class was learning about genetics. I thought how if I knew a parent's genes, I could predict their offspring's genetics was pretty awesome. I was all pretty excited about genetics, and then my science teacher, in her infinite wisdome, decided to bring genetic counselor from the local hospital to our class to talk about how she uses genetics to help people understand disease and try to keep them healthy. It was a perfect combination for me of helping people and doing genetics, which I already liked. I thought this was the coolest thing, and I wanted to do her job someday.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
180
You said that sperm doesn't have mtDNA -- isn't it actually the case that it HAS mtDNA but the egg destroys it? :)
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. You are correct that sperm do have Mt DNA, however, the reason(s) for it not being "transferred" to offspring is not completely worked out. Your hypothesis may be true about the egg destroying it; more science to come before we know the full story.
Lisa (teacher)
181
Regarding being born physically XX or XY, but with feelings of wrong sexuality with the desire for transgender surgery, does environment play a role in influencing these feelings?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: I develop genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translates genetic and genomic information for the public. I also develop genetic and genomic health information and educational resources for healthcare professionals. It is generally thought that sexuality is determined at conception, and that environment does not influence that determination.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
182
Are some human beings more prone to getting HIV than others?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. When someone is exposed to HIV it may infect their white blood cells. Some individuals may have white blood cells that protect themselves from viruses better, some may be able to fight the HIV virus better, other people may have genes that stop them from getting very sick from HIV. Because we are all different and have different genetic makeup the many complicated processes that happen in our body is quite individualized. There is is much work to be done in this field.
Osborne High School in GA (9th grade teacher)
183
Is there DNA in my vomit? Let's say I was in a hit-and-run accident, and I get out of the car and see the mangled pedestrian and then throw up at the crime scene and drive off. Could the dudes from CSI get me from that? "Hypothetically speaking"
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Yes. There would be your DNA - from the skin lining your stomach and esophagus. There would also potentially be DNA from things you ate and the the bacteria in your stomach, mouth and throat. CSIs would be able to look at the versions of the genetic markers used in forensics. However, they would need something to match the information to. Either by collecting an independent sample from you or if your information was already in a criminal database.
Raj R. Dancey in CA (12th grade student)

Information - Moderator Courtney Nichols, M.Sc., Sc.M. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates several research studies aimed at understanding the genetic causes of diseases where multiple genes and other factors are involved, called complex diseases. I work on studies of autism, hypertension, and Hirschsprung disease.


185
Are there any other genes other than Insulin-producing gene that play a role in causing Diabetes?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. We think there are many genes involved in the development of diabetes, but we think it is a multifactorial disorder, meaning both genes and the environment must play a role for a person to develop the condition. Many of the genetic factors are still being discovered.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
186
Is evolution also a gamble which we got lucky of being, us?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Hi Indonesia! Evolution selects for organisms that are the most "fit" for their environment, such that the population gradually shifts over a long period of time. So it's really not a gamble, it's more of a progression towards a goal. I might say that a sloth might feel pretty lucky that it's a sloth!
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
187
Is there a genetic component to criminal behavior?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Scientists are only beginning to learn about how our genes influence our behavior, but are finding that it's very much deeply influenced by environment.
Mr. Capone in IL ()
188
What gene causes freckles?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Freckles appear due to a combination of factors which includes have genes (DNA) which affects skin "pigmentation" as well as environmental factors such as sun exposure.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
189
How is it possible to be born without pigment?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. I will assume that you are talking about pigment in our skin. The pigment in our skin is in the part of the cell called the melanosome, which is a small compartment. When pigment is made and deposited in the melanosome the cell turns dark; the more the pigment, the darker the cell. Some individuals with a group of disorders called albinism, may not be able to make pigment or may not be able to deposit it in melanosomes. If that happens then these individuals will not appear to have pigment. It can affect the skin and also the eyes, typically individuals with albinism have pale skin and blue eyes.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
190
What causes sickle cell?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Sickle cell disease(SCD) is an autosomal recessive (inherited) disease. A person with SCD inherited 2 copies of the SCD gene; one copy from each parent. The parents, may or may not have SCD, depending on whether they have 1 copy of the SCD gene (unaffected carrier) or 2 copies (have SCD). Ask your teacher to discuss autosomal recessive diseases as there are many others.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
191
What are some of the things that DNA has helped the most with and what can it help with in the future?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. It has been incredibly helpful in many areas of science, and the determination of the genetic code is probably one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in all of human history. For example, we are able to more accurately trace the origins of mankind using DNA, can determine which portions of DNA are highly-conserved across different species, and can now easily, accurately, and relatively cheaply diagnose hundreds of diseases using DNA testing. Many of those diagnoses allow patients to not only have an answer for why they experience certain medical problems, but allow them to know the risks that their family members will also develop the same condition or allow for important treatment and monitoring earlier in the course of disease. In the future we hope to be able to target clinical therapy to patients based on their personal genetic code. This will hopefully increase the effectiveness of therapy while decreasing the side effects, costs, and lost time associated with ineffective therapy choices.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
192
So far, regarding those "induced pleuripotent stem cells", is it now possible for much higher chances for repairing damaged organs using those cells these days?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Well, in terms of higher, the therapeutic use of stem cells is very much in its infancy, so I think we're years away from repairing damaged organs, but every bit of research that gets done increases our chance of being able to do so.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
193
Why is it that my older cousin looks more like my father than he does his own? And why do I look more like my aunt than my mom?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. You are a combination of both your mother's DNA and your father's DNA. Your aunts and uncles are your mom's and your dad's brothers and sisters, so they too share your parents' DNA. So while you may not look like the spitting image of your mother or your father, you may have some of the same or similar characteristics as them, like your nose or your eye color, or your hair color. Your aunts and uncles may also look like your parents too, because they're related to them as well. There's no real explanation for why someone takes after a family member more than another... it just happens thanks to DNA from your parents.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
194
How can I tell if a person has progeria, or is just plain old?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Progeria is an extremely rare genetic disorder. Only about 1 in 8 million people have it. Most people with the condition have other characteristic features, such as short stature, low body fat, and missing hair.
Geoff Toyz in NJ (8th grade student)
195
If someone has a genetic disorder, is it possible to fix that disorder,or are scientists studying how t do that at all?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. Many scientists are working on ways to cure genetic diseases through many different approaches such as gene therapy. There are a growing number of genetic based diseases that can now be cured!
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
196
Each cell in the human body has the same DNA, in developement how do the cells "know" what tissue they will eventually become?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Different genes are turned on and off at different times. This starts as a complicated cascade of molecular signals after conception and cellular division. The initial differentiation of cells can start because of the physical location of those early cells. The molecular signals involved can be the attachment of chemical groups to the DNA backbone (epigenetics) and the presence or absence of proteins (enhancers and suppressors) on the DNA strand.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
197
How's it going there?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. It's great! Today is one of my favorite days of the year. It is so much fun to find out about the questions students all over the world have about genetics and genomics.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
198
My dad STILL works in molecular imaging. Is this profession gaining any respect yet from last year?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Molecular imaging is a important field in biology because it helps us understand the normal cellular processes in living organism without disrupting them. Many areas of research are being conducted in this exciting field!
Noah John in NJ (6th grade student)
199
What is the likelihood that siblings will naturally be born genetically identical though not being born at the same time?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Although it may be possible, it is extremely unlikely as there are so many combinations that are possible at the time of conception.
Peru High School in IN (12th grade student)
200
How does the general majority of the scientific community feel about gene patents? I know there has been controversy over this topic, especially during the last few months. Does this not seem a bit disturbing to any of you, that certain people or companies can actually own our genes, pieces of us? It seems very...(forgive me, because I am quite sure this is not even a word)neo-totalitarian to me. Your thoughts?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. You won't be surprised to hear that patents are a highly complex are of policy right now. Without them, there would be little incentive for companies to invest in new drugs or therapies, since they could easily be "scooped" by a rival. In terms of gene patents, some of the original ones that were granted are questionable in terms of how closely they adhere to the principles of patent law - that the "invention" in not from the natural world. The majority of gene patents involve a very specific use of these genes, and not on anything that's part of your body or mine. The court case ACLU vs Myriad will be an interesting one to follow.
Blackman High School in TN (12th grade student)
201
I saw someones DNA on chatroulette. Where else on the internet can i see this?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Sure. Check the National Center For Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) human genome browser: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/mapview/maps.cgi?taxid=9606&chr=1
Geoff Toyz in NJ (8th grade student)
202
What have you found out about lung cancer, diabetes and brain cancer?
     Jessica Hooks, M.S.: I am a prenatal genetic counselor who sees preconception and prenatal patients for a variety of indications. I also serve as the genetic counselor for the Charlotte Fetal Care Center, which is a multidisciplinary team dedicated to the prenatal treatment of complex birth defects and obstetrical complications. To my knowledge, we have not found a genetic predisposition to lung and brain cancer, although there is a specific genetic disorder called von Hipple Lindau where brain tumors can be a symptom. As far as diabetes, we know there is a stronger genetic predisposition for Type II over Type I but that environment (eating habits, exercise, weight, etc.) play a huge role in who is actually going to develop diabetes and when.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
203
If a person with Down's syndrome had a child, would the child have Down's also?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. We know that individuals that with Down syndrome have 3 copies of chromosome 21. It is more complicated than that, however. There are some people with the appearance of Down syndrome who have 3 complete copies of chromosome 21, some have only 2 copies and a fraction of a third copy. Theoretically, it is possible that an individual with Down syndrome may produce an egg or sperm with 2 copies of chromosome 21 instead of 1 copy. This egg or sperm may lead the offspring to have 2 copies of chromosome 21, thus Down syndrome. Our experience, however, is that there are very, very few cases of individuals with Down syndrome having offspring with Down syndrome. Whether this is because the individuals have social barriers, limited fertility or other factors is not entirely clear.
Stevenson Middle School in AL (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator Joe McInerney, M.S. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: I received my MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. I spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where I was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, i've been executive director of National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, where he develops educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine for a broad range of health professionals.


205
How long do you think it will be before ova can be genetically created?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I think we're a very long way off from being able to create cells.
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade student)
206
I've never heard of Hirschprung disease. Can you describe it please?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Hirschsprungs disease is a congenital disorder of the colon. It is thought to be caused by the failure of neural crest cells to migrate properly during fetal development. This results in part of the bowel not being able to relax, and an obstruction occurs. Most people need surgery to fix this condition.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
207
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
208
Is there a gene that can cause pancreatic cancer?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. There have been several genes identified that are related to a person developing pancreatic cancer. Several research centers within the US are focused on finding and understanding these genes.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
209
Does oral microbiome of each human individual affect the digestive process in the same way or will there be any individual variations?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. The study of the microbiome is an emerging field of study. So, I don't have a complete answer for you. But there are individual variations between people and it affects our health. It is more likely that the microbiome in the stomach and intestines will affect digestive processes.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
210
What causes cancer to come back even after kimotherepy and the doctors tell you that you are cancer free ? how come sometimes is does not return ? Thank you DA&ML period 2
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. Usually this means that the chemotherapy unfortunately did not work, and it did not destroy all of the cancer cells. Often times, another chemotherapy regimen will be tried.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
211
I want to learn Genomic Biology through computer from my home. Is it possible?
     Kris Wetterstrand, M.S.: I currently work on the Large-scale Sequencing Program, which managed the Human Genome Project, and the Human Microbiome Project, an effort to sequence the DNA of microbes (e.g. bacteria) that live in and on humans. Yes. Check out sites like the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the University of California, Santa Cruz genome browsers.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
212
In DNA replication, replication bubbles form in several different places. Why does this result in a leading and a lagging strand when (I would think?) the replication would move from the inside out continuously as the replication bubble gets bigger in both directions? Wouldn't this result in leading strands in both directions (other than the tips of the DNA strand of course)?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. DNA replication begins and an origin, and moves in both directions hence the leading and lagging strand. Remember that the lagging strand is made up of short pieces of DNA (Okazaki fragments) so proceed at different speeds. The replication machinery of the cell works only works in the 5' to 3' direction, so the two directions are by their nature different.
Blackman High School in TN (10th grade student)
213
When a person with dark skin has a child with a person with lighter skin, will their child always have darker skin?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. The skin color we see is due to different levels of melanin in the skin. Each of us has melanin genes that encode how much we produce. The genotype of the parents will determine the combination found in the offspring, which usually appears as an average between the skin tones of the parents, but sometimes a child will be born that can have darker or lighter skin than is expected due to the interactions of these genes. Albinism is due to mutations that causes a lack of melanin.
Blackman High School in TN (11th grade student)
214
Blackman High School in TN (12th grade student)
215
How are red blood cells made?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow which is a space inside of our bones. The bone marrow is full of stem cells that produce reticulocytes, these reticulocytes mature to red blood cells in about 7 days and then are put into the blood stream. They last in the blood stream about 120 days until they become old and are recycled by the body.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
216
What would happen if two sperm entered an egg?
     Eleanor Rees, M.S., C.G.C.: I currently work at Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center, a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Lebanon, NH. I do both prenatal genetic counseling and cancer genetic counseling. This results in a condition called triploidy, where the resulting embryo has 69 chromosomes instead of the usual 46 chromosomes. Triploid pregnancies most often end in miscarriage, as this condition is not compatible with life.
Stevenson Middle School in AL (7th grade student)
217
what is your dog's name
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. One of my dogs is named Rosie...after Rosalind Franklin, who worked with Watson and Crick to first describe the structure of DNA.
Florida in CT (11th grade )
218
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
219
How long did you go to school?
     Ian Wallace, M.S.: I provide prenatal genetic counseling services to patients, which includes diagnostic testing, carrier screening, teratogenic risk assessment, recurrence risk assessment, preconception counseling, and psychosocial counseling. I went to undergraduate school for 4.5 years, and then after working in the real world for a few years, I attended graduate school for 2 years to obtain a masters degree. MD and PhD students go to school for longer periods of time.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
220
If only we can accelerate cellular regeneration, would it speed up our aging process?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I think that acceleration of cellular regeneration is likely to slow down aging, as cells are able to repair themselves and not accumulate damage. Theoretically, or course.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D has entered the chat. Take a look at his bio: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy.


222
My little brother has diabetes, but no one in our family has it, how did he get it?
     Emily Smith, M.S.: I am the first (and only) genetic counselor for a small community-based hospital. I work mainly in a clinical cancer genetics setting but occasionally will work in other areas of clinical genetics. Non-clinical duties include coordinating monthly multidisciplinary breast conferences, lecturing medical students and residents about topics in genetics, and speaking to the community about the importance of family history. The short answer to your question is, it's complicated why your brother has diabetes but no one else does. Sometimes when there is a person who has a disease and no one else in the family has it, there are what we call de novo, or new, genetic mutations. These mutations just happen and we don't always know why they happen. Other times, there could be a genetic mutation passed down in the family and no one else has the disease because of other protective genes that alter the risk. Another reason could be that it is some kind of genetic and environment interaction that cause a disease. Again, we do not always know which genes and what environmental factors are interacting.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
223
So brothers and sisters that arent twins also have some amount of the same DNA?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. They have the same amount of DNA, but it may differ in which "versions" of genes they received. On average, brothers and sisters shared about 50% of their genes; the other 50% are different from one another.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
224
So brothers and sisters that arent twins also have some amount of the same DNA?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Yes. Even siblings who aren't identical twins share about half of their DNA, on average.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
225
How are blood platelets formed, and how can you increase your # of blood platelets?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. The platelets in your blood all come from cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. Megakaryocytes are really cool!. These are cells that replicate their DNA many times but do not divide. They end up with 16 or 32 sets of chromosomes. Once they get to this point, they "shed" thousands of little platelets with no nucleus. These leave the marrow and co into the circulation, looking for places where your vascular system is injured.
Blackman High School in TN (10th grade student)
226
Are serious migraines caused by genetics? If so, why did my mother only experienced these horrible headaches when she was pregnant for me and not my sister?
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. There are some genetic factors that have been associated with migraines but migraines may have many, many different causes. Sometimes the hormones that change so dramatically during pregnancy can increase a woman's risk for migraines, sometimes they may have high blood pressure or extra fluid which may influence someone's migraines. Remember also, that the baby in the womb is sending different factors back through the mom, this communication between baby and mom is still be explored. There is plenty of work to do to understand the basis of migraines and how they are best treated.
Peru High School in IN (11th grade student)
227
Is it possible to change genes to a baby? JR
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. "Changing genes" in a baby is what we refer to as gene therapy. While there are a few examples of using gene therapy to treat genetic diseases, this field of genetics is still growing with great hope for treating genetic diseases in the future.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
228
What causes moles and why do they randomly appear?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. It is not all together clear. There are lots of different types of moles and they occur in different ways. In general they are a proliferation of pigment containing cells in your skin. Why they start to proliferate is not known, but generally the get a signal to stop, leaving an area of pigmented cells.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)

Information - Moderator Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C. has entered the chat. Take a look at his bio: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions.


230
What are rare cancers caused by, also unchecked cell growth?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Some rare cancer syndromes are genetic. This means that there could be a change in a specific gene that leads to unregulated cell growth, especially in specific organs or tissues. Other rare cancers could be due to exposures to chemicals or radiation, or even unknown reasons.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
231
do you like your job???
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. Great question! I love my job. Studying genetics and understanding how it influences families who have genetic diseases is fascinating. I hope that it helps the families who face these devastating diseases.
Williamsport High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M has currently entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics.


233
In the future, do you think doctors and scientists will be able to cure a child's genetic disorder before they're born and fix it? (VH & TA)
     Donna Krasnewich, M.D., Ph.D.: I am knowledgeable in diseases resulting from abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates. The future is in your hands, high school science students have so many opportunities. You are being educated during a time when the field of genetics is growing so quickly, both the technology and our understanding of the genetic code. Right now, we cannot cure a genetic disorder in utero, before a baby is born, however, the possibilities for the future in genetics are endless.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
234
Did you ever study genetic disorders?
     Ellyn Farrelly, M.A.: I am currently completing my Master's degree in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling at Stanford University. My research interests are in disability rights. That's what we do every day. It's a great career that we hope helps families.
Selinsgrove High School in PA (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Eric D. Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a position he had held since late 2009. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). Since the early 1990s, Dr. Green has been extensively involved in efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project, and more recently has involved several major efforts that utilize large-scale DNA sequencing to address important problems in genomics, genetics, and biomedicine.


236
When do you use a molecular screen of bacteria?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Currently these screens are part of The Human Microbiome Project. The Bacteria in and on our bodies outnumber the number of cells in our body. Most of these bacteria do not grow in culture, either in liquid or on bacteria plates. Using the new sequencing technology the HMP is identifying all of the different kinds of bacteria in different parts of the body and in different disease states.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
237
I want to focus on comparative study of innate immunity in plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. What techniques should I need to learn?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Immunology. This is the study of how the body recognizes and deals with foreign invaders. Plants usually deal with foreign orngaisms by sheer numbers, but they obviously have genetic resistance to fungi and parasites. It is a very interesting field of study.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
238
How do scientists choose genes for babies without putting them in danger? kh&ac p2
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Changing genes refers to gene therapy. At this point, we don't have the technology to change the actual genetic code in individual cells. So, actually, no babies are being put into danger in this way.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
239
Question for Dr. Green: How's life as NHGRI Director your first few months?
     Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D.: Eric D. Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a position he had held since late 2009. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). Since the early 1990s, Dr. Green has been extensively involved in efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project, and more recently has involved several major efforts that utilize large-scale DNA sequencing to address important problems in genomics, genetics, and biomedicine. I have now been NHGRI Director for 4 months, 22 days, and 2 hours (but who is counting). Without question, it is the greatest honor of my life. Without question, it has been the hardest job of my life-- so far. But like any new job, I am learning new things every day and expect things will 'calm down' a bit in the coming months. We have a very, very busy agenda at NHGRI-- genomics is an incredibly hot area of research, and its many opportunities keep us all working very hard. It is truly exciting to be a major part of the genomic revolution.
McDonald in CT ()
240
Have you ever heard of a "Grim Reaper" gene? Would it give us eternal youth if it is turned off? Are there other genes involved in aging?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. I have heard of the Grim Reaper gene! It is found in a type of fruit fly, called Drosophila, which are often studied in genetics. The genetics of aging is not completely understood yet, but probably involves a combination of environmental and genetic factors, so removing this gene would likely not give us eternal youth... though testing in flies and worms have shown an increase in life spans! There are many, many genes implicated in aging.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Dawn Peck has entered the chat. Please take a look at here bio: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics.


242
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
243
What kinds of genes do you expect to locate in the centromeric region, which is till now not sequenced completely?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Probably none. The centromere has a specific function as the focus for the spindle fibers. What sequence we have is pretty repetitive and has no genes in it. Finally we have evidence from yeast and other organisms that are pretty definitive that there are no genes in the centromere.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
244
Does sun burn ruin you DNA?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Good question! Sunburn can cause a reaction in DNA known as the formation of thymine dimers (look that up!), but there are enzymes whose job is to find and correct those mistakes. It can be a problem when those enzymes are missing or don't work properly, which can lead to rare genetic diseases. In addition, sunburn is a risk factor for skin cancer (melanoma). So it's a good idea to ALWAYS use sunscreen and limit mid-day sun exposure.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
245
Billy Okazaki Tanner in NJ (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers.


247
Why is it that only males have XY chromosomes? E.F
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Because the genes that make males are located on the Y chromosome. Anyone with a Y chromosome will be male, no Y chromosome is female.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
248
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
249
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
250
Why are you so interested in DNA?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. DNA is the basis for life. Working in genetics is exciting because there are so many discoveries happening that we can apply to science and clinical care, and there are countless opportunities for additional discovery. Personally, as a genetic counselor, I am interested in DNA because it tells me a lot about the different conditions that are passed on in a family.
Lime Mountain in PA (9th grade student)
251
With BLAST reports of any Bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequence, where two or more bacterial species have the same total score, E-value and query coverage reported, in that case which one should we prefer?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. It is a problem. because we do not know exactly how much variation occurs in bacteria of the same species, we use a standard that 98% identical is considered the same taxonomic unti. This is not a species, but is a good approximation.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
252
Jonny Phife in NJ (Higher Education student)
253
James Woods Elementary in MA (5th grade student)
254
can you take DNA from an animal and put it into a human?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Yes you can, using gene transfer technology. I doubt that it ever will happen though. Often DNA from another animal would make a protein that would be recognized as foreign and eliminated. There are good examples of this when human genes are put into mice.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
255
In the future, will we be able to fix disorders found in children before their birth?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. This is a big area of research! There are some new therapies that are being developed that may be able to 'fix' DNA errors, such as gene therapy, or small-molecule drugs that can 'read through' stop codons in a gene. There are also some centers in the world that are able to perform fetal surgery for certain kinds of birth defects.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
256
Branford High School in DE (10th grade student)
257
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
258
what is the most interesting thing that you have done while researching genetics? M.P. p2
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. I have had the opportunity to work in a lot of interesting areas of genetics! Some of the most interesting things include: identifying genes associated with rare endocrine tumors, working with the Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical care for the research patients, and working with actors trained as simulated patients to test physician assistant knowledge!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
259
My little brother is autistic (non-verbal) and i am wondering if i am going to have an autistic child? (mf)
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. This is a great question. The genetics of autism is a very hot area of research. Autism is strongly genetically determined, but having a sibling with autism does not necessarily mean you will have a child with autism. The risk for siblings of autistic children to have autism themselves is about 2-8%, so the risk of you having a child with autism is probably much less.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
260
Are there African-American scientists?
     Vence Bonham, J.D.: Vence Bonham researches the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genomic discoveries, particularly health professionals' and lay persons' understanding of race, ethnicity and genetics. Yes! African Americans have made many major contributions in science. I encourage you to learn about George Washington Carver, Ernest Just and Charles Drew and their contributions to many fields of science as an example. In the field of genetics and genomics I encourage you to learn about current scientists Georgia Dunston, Rick Kittles, John Carpten and Charles Rotimi all genomic scientists involved in research today.
C.L. Parnters in PA (6th grade student)
261
FISHing a chromosome? Is it basically tagging a part of a chromosome with a fluorescent tag? Then what are the purposes of doing so?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Basically, yes, FISH is a way of finding the presence or absence of a specific DNA sequence by binding (or not binding) with that DNA. This can confirm a suspected genetic diagnosis, by showing that a mutation is present, or that a bit of DNA is missing (i.e. a deletion has occurred). It can also be used to confirm gene activity, by detecting the level of a specific mRNA sequence (to see whether the gene producing that sequence is turned on or off).
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
262
How far has the genomic treatment of Parkinsons advanced?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Researchers are starting to better understand which genes have a contributing role in the development of Parkinson disease. This helps identify cellular pathways that might be a target for medication, but has not yet led to a new treatment.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
263
My mom likes to work the night shift. Whenever I ask her why she has to work so late she always says "sex cells." Is she right about her night owl habits being genetic? And is it really X-linked because I always get up early so I think she's wrong. Thanks
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Sleep patterns are determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although not all of the genes have been identified, it is unlikely that they will all be on the X chromosome. As with all complex conditions and traits, each factor is likely to contribute a small amount to the overall trait. Therefore, both of your parents and your environment influence your sleeping pattern. Sleeping patterns also change over time, so don't be surprised if you become more of a night owl at some point, especially once you go to college.
Samantha John in NJ (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Joan Ehrhardt, M.S. has entered the chatroom. Take a look a her bio: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public.


265
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
266
Who was the first scientist to discover gene therapy?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. There are lot of folks who claim to be the "Father of Gene Therapy". I am one of the founders of the American Society of gene Therapy and let me tell you this is a very touchy subject for some of them. My opinion is that there many people who made important contributions to the successful use of gene therapy. The fist successful use of gene Therapy was in France where Marina Calvazzano-Calvo and Alaine Fischer and a lot of hard working colleagues cured a rare form of immune deficiency using gene therapy. now there are many examples ranging from blindness to cancer.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
267
What causes dwarfism?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. There are over 100 different genetic causes of dwarfism. A gene important for bone growth is changed, or mutated, in an individual with dwarfism. Dwarfism can be either an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive. Dominant forms of dwarfism can be passed down from parent to child - if a parent has dwarfism, there is a 50% chance they will pass on the changed gene that causes their dwarfism to a child. In recessive dwarfism, two parents of normal height are both silent carriers for a gene change for dwarfism. In this situation, there is a 25% chance they will have a child with dwarfism. The most common cause of dwarfism is called achondroplasia.
Stevenson Middle School in AL (7th grade student)
268
How is it possible that a person can look more like their aunt or uncle than their parents?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. A person's combination of traits is completely random, so it may occur that you get a large combination of traits from one parent that makes you look very similar to your parent's siblings (aunt or uncle).
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
269
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
270
Is it possible for two people who have brown eyes to have a blue-eyed baby?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Yes it is. The genetics of eye color is a lot more complicated than we used to think, and there are at least 3 genes involved in blue eye color. Maybe you will become a gene-hunter and find the next one!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
271
who decided the name of DNA?
     Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D.: Eric D. Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a position he had held since late 2009. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). Since the early 1990s, Dr. Green has been extensively involved in efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project, and more recently has involved several major efforts that utilize large-scale DNA sequencing to address important problems in genomics, genetics, and biomedicine. Deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) was first discovered way back in 1869 by Johann Friedrich Miescher. He called his molecule nuclein, but today we know that Miescher's nuclein was actually DNA and RNA. It wasn't until the 1950's that DNA was determined to be the genetic material. This was accomplished by two scientists, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase, who studied viral replication in bacteria. But the "great" discovery was still to come in 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the three-dimensional structure of DNA: a double helix (a double helix looks like a spiral staircase).
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
272
What is a thymine dimer? a.v
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Thymine dimers occur when uv light damages DNA. What happens is that adjacent Ts on opposite strands become covalently linked. This makes it very hard for the strands to separate during replication unless some DNA repair enzymes repair the defect.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
273
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Lakshmi Warrier, M.S., C.G.C. has entered the chatroom, Take a look at her bio: I work as a Genetic Counselor with the Cancer Risk Program at the Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC San Francisco Medical Center. Work responsibilities pimarily focus on working wth families with breast, ovarian and other cancers at the Breast Care Clinic, research recruitment, and education.


275
How many genes code for eye colors?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. In humans three genes involved in eye color are known. They explain typical patterns of inheritance of brown, green, and blue eye colors. However, they don't explain everything. Grey eye color, Hazel eye color, and multiple shades of blue, brown, green, and grey are not explained. Eye color at birth is often blue, and later turns to a darker color. An additional gene for green is also postulated, and there are reports of blue eyed parents producing brown eyed children (which the three known genes can't easily explain!). In summary, it is a very complicated multiple gene process!!!
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
276
What happens if an oxygen molecule makes its way onto the deoxyribose sugar on DNA? Will the DNA be affected?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. If this happened that altered base would be recognized as "damaged" DNA. If the base could not be repaired, the cell would probably be told to die. When cells assemble the nitrogenous bases enzymes distinguish between ribose and deoxyribose.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
277
East Haven High School in DE (10th grade student)
278
Is it true that most female hormones in humans are on the females head? Would that be why females are generally shorter?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. It is true that many human hormones, both male and female, are produced in the brain. Other sites of hormone production include the reproductive organs (like the ovaries and tesicles) and many other organs in the body. The pituitary gland is located in the center of the brain, and it is responsible for producing many different hormones including growth hormone. This is true for both men and women. The complex balance of different hormones in men and women account for the difference in height between sexes.
Blackman High School in TN (12th grade student)
279
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
280
Why do genes mess up and make deformities?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Our bodies do the best job they can do, but when there is a chance mistake in a DNA sequence, the protein product made by that cell may not work properly. So there can be changes in structure or function as a result. It's not anyone's fault. DNA mutations happen at random. What's amazing is that many of them have a minor effect and we don't even know they are there.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
281
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
282
Can we genetically engineer plants to have a special resistance to drought?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Sure. However it might be complicated because desert plants are not adapted for high output.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
283
Is autism linked to genetics
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. We do know that some cases of autism are due to a genetic condition, such as Fragile X or other chromosomal microdeletions (such as a deletion at 16p11.2). However, less than 20% of cases of autism are found to have a genetic basis.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
284
How close are you to curing AIDS?
     Don Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.: I'm currently researching the components of a genetic counseling session, including how people are informed of genetic disorders and how they make decisions regarding genetic testing. The treatments for AIDS are getting better and better. There are now drugs that can significantly reduce the viral load (in other words, the level of the HIV virus in the body), but these drugs do not completely eliminate the virus in most people. A true cure for AIDS may not be available for some time.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
285
Is there a way to eliminate mental retardation before the baby is born? If not, are you trying to develop a way for the future?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. There is no simple way to eliminate mental retardation before a baby is born. It is estimated that about half of all our genes are important for brain development and function. For most babies born with mental retardation, parents would not have any idea their child could be affected. Some conditions that cause mental retardation can be diagnosed before birth, or soon after birth. Some can be treated right away. Much research is focused on understanding these causes and trying to develop treatments.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
286
What causes depression, and how can I help my friend fix it?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Depression is a very common condition in the population. It is caused by a combination environmental and genetic factors. Some people have a strong family history of depression, meaning that they have many relatives with the condition. In these families, the genetic factors may play a greater role. Not everyone with a family history will have depression, and people without a family history may also become depressed. It is very difficult to predict who will develop depression. Depression can affect people in significant ways. Recognizing that your friend is having trouble is an important first step to helping him or her. People can find help with treating the symptoms of depression from a number a directions. Counseling can help and some people find help from medications. In many cases, depression is cause by a specific event or set of events and can be addressed in a short term way. Providing support is important. Be sure to let someone know if you are concerned that your friend's depression goes on for a long period of time or begins to affect his or her life in a negative way.
Peru High School in IN (9th grade student)
287
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
288
What is the most you have ever have ever done with DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. last year my lab sequenced the methylated genome of different kinds of cells. We sure got a lot of sequence from that study and we are still analyzing it.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
289
If you unravelled the DNA from the nucleus of a chipmunk's cell, how long would it be?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. It is estimated that the number of base pairs of DNA in a chipmunk (Tamias striatus) is 1.3 x 10(9), contained in 38 chromosomes. If you stretched all the DNA out from a single cell, it would be between 1 and 2 feet. Compare this to the length of DNA in a human cell, where it would be about three feet long and is contained in 46 chromosomes! Fascinating!
Valley View Middle School in MN (7th grade student)
290
Barbara K. Lipman School & Research Institute in TN (teacher)
291
Have you seen the movie District 9? Is it possible for a human to combine DNA with aliens? I did not think that movie was oscar-worthy
     Larry Thompson M.S. M.P.H.: Larry Thompson has graduate degrees in molecular biology and in film. Most of his career has been spent telling stories about science and medicine. He is currently the communications director for the National Human Genome Research Institute. Researchers routinely combine human DNA with bacterial DNA, which is about as alien as you get on Earth. As long as the alien DNA has the same physicial shape and follows the same pair-bonding rules as human DNA, I would bet it could be joined. So, if you find some alien DNA give us a call so we can give it a try. And as for whether the film deserved an Oscar, opinions clearly vary, but I thought it was kind of edgy and raised lots of metaphorical questions about how we treat each other right here on the planet in a stark and dramatic way.
C.L. Parnters in NY (11th grade student)
292
Blackman High School in TN (12th grade student)
293
Why can't we clone people since we know so much about our DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. We can clone other mammals, including dogs, cats and mice, so I think there could be human cloning. However, the UN and the United States have banned human cloning and human cloning experiment. there are a lot of more important things for us to work on.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
294
What are the necessary things to know in the biology field to be employed as a nurse? (VD)
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Nursing requires knowledge in many area of biology, including how the human body is put together (anatomy) and how it works (physiology), and the chemical interactions inside the body (biochemistry). Nursing schools are also starting to add information about genetics and genomics (how the whole genome interacts with the environment) into the training programs.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
295
Is there any genetic basis for the behaviour of human individuals ?
     Vence Bonham, J.D.: Vence Bonham researches the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genomic discoveries, particularly health professionals' and lay persons' understanding of race, ethnicity and genetics. Yes. We are learning more about the genetic basis of diseases and traits. Both environment and genes contribute to human behavior.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
296
Does genetics play a part in how pretty or handsome one is?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. It sure does. Genes determine all of our features, hair colors, height, facial features and other things. However, we all know that feeling good about yourself is the best way to make yourself look good.
John Bartram Davidson in VA ()

Information - Moderator Larry Thompson, M.S., M.F.A has entered the chat. Take a look at his bio: I currently hold graduate degrees in molecular biology and in film. Most of my career has been spent telling stories about science and medicine. I am currently the communications director for the National Human Genome Research Institute.


298
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
299
What is the most common mental condition regarding genetics around the world?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. The most common mental condition with a genetic component is depression. Depression is a complex condition that develops due to both genetic and non-genetic risk factors. The most common single-gene mental condition is Fragile X syndrome, a syndrome that usually affects boys and is characterized by mental retardation and other cognitive features.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
300
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
301
Is it likely for twins to have a birthmark in the same spot as one another?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. It is very unlikely. Just like it is unlikely that twins will have the same personality as one another!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
302
Is Down Syndrome inherited?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Most of the time Down syndrome is not inherited, but instead happens as a random event when an egg or sperm is being formed. However, there are a small number of families that have a difference in the way the chromosomes are set-up in one of the parents' cells that can result in an inherited form of Down syndrome.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
303
is it getting easier for you guys to find a cure for aids?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Genetics is helping researchers develop therapies for HIV/AIDS. We know of some genetic markers that both increase and decrease someone's chances of contracting HIV. We can also target the HIV virus's DNA in hopes of developing therapies against it.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
304
Do vaccinations have anything to do with DNA?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Vaccines are substances designed to create an immune response within an individual to protect him or her if ever exposed to that type of virus. Vaccines create a protective, low-grade immune response because the body recognizes the proteins on the surface of the virus. Because proteins are coded for by DNA, vaccines do involve DNA.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
305
Will scientists ever come up with a way to cure, or prevent a genetic disorder? (TA and VH period 2)
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Currently, there are options to treat and prevent very few genetic conditions. These include gene therapy - which is still considered experimental - and embryo testing that can identify which embryos have a genetic condition before using in vitro fertilization to implant the embryos without the condition. In the future, I expect we will have more and better gene therapy treatments for genetic conditions.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
306
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
307
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
308
Selinsgrove High School in PA (9th grade student)
309
Blackman High School in TN (11th grade student)
310
Does chimerism (sp?) cause any "damage" or mutations other than having multiple genotypes?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. In the press, we hear about chimerism caused by the fusion of dizygotic (fraternal) twins where the result is a person with at least two genetically distinct sets of cells. This happens very early in embryonic development, before stem cells have been assigned their jobs in the body. The embryo may develop as normal. In this scenario, if the fusion of the two embryos causes significant damage, the fused embryo is likely to be miscarried, perhaps even before the mother knows she is pregnant.
Blackman High School in TN (11th grade student)
311
Is genetic screening for diseases a reliable way of finding out if you are going to come down with that disease later in life?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. It depends on the disease. For some, such as Tay Sachs disease, the detection of a mutation in each copy of the gene is completely reliable. For others, such as some heritable forms of cancer, the presence of a mutation can mean that the chance of getting that cancer is much higher, but it may not be 100%. Anyone who is concerned about the possibility that they, or their future children, or a relative, may develop a genetic disease is encouraged to consult a genetic counselor, who will take a family history and provide a risk estimate of the condition in question.
James Woods Elementary in LA (Higher Education teacher)
312
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
313
What does means E-value in BLAST? how it help to identify any unknown bacteria? is this value help for exact identification?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. It gives the relative significance of the match of a sequence with the target sequence. it is very useful for differentiating between bacterial sequences.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
314
Is depression genetically linked?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Depression, and other psychiatric disorders, do have a genetic component. We know that individuals with a family history of depression have a higher risk of developing it than individuals without a family history. There is also an environmental component, suggesting that psychiatric disorders are due to "multifactorial" or "complex genetic" inheritance.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
315
How long have you worked with DNA?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. I worked with e. coli DNA and corn DNA for a couple of years during my college days. I got a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling almost 20 years ago. I have been working with people, giving information about genetics, ever since.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
316
How effective are stem cells in helping someone with pancreatic cancer?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. They may be helpful in the future. They could be used to rebuild a pancreas after the cancer id removed or destroyed. however, we still have to solve the problem of the cancer....
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
317
Is there any type of research being done to help people with muscular dystrophy related to DNA?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Great question. There are many exciting research studies currently on-going that focus on helping people with muscular dystrophy. These include research involving gene therapy trials, stem cell therapy, drug therapy, and other exciting possibilities for families with MD. For more information, see the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy website: http://www.parentprojectmd.org/site/DocServer/2008_Research_Approaches.pdf?docID=5741 http://www.parentprojectmd.org/site/PageServer?pagename=advancing_research_findings
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
318
Hi..... can we create an artificial gene
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. We do it all the time. In fact it has been going on since the 1960s when scientists created a DNA sequence that could be translated into cow insulin.
Balochistan University of IT Engineering and Mgmt Sciences, Quetta (Higher Education teacher)
319
can anyone tell me their favorite part of being a scientist k.b.
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. That is easy. It is figuring out things that nobody in the world knows or understands. We all live for those moments.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
320
Is being albino genetic? :)
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Yes - there are several genes that control the amount of melanin in the body. Melanin is the substance that causes there to be color in the skin, hair, and eyes. When one of these genes is not working, it interferes with the body's ability to make melanin. This results in albinism.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
321
I've been told that PCOS is genetic, but I've also been told that it can go away in time with certain treatments. How is that possible?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. PCOS is a complex genetic (multifactorial) condition. This means that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are involved. Even if someone has a genetic tendency to develop PCOS, they may not develop it if the environmental factors are not strong enough. However, if someone has PCOS, it may be treated with medications or diet and may become better with time, not necessarily "go away".
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
322
I have flat feet. Is this genetic?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. The answer is...possibly. Many conditions are considered multifactorial, meaning there may be influences from genetics, environment, and a combination between the two. If flat feet run in your family, it may be caused by a genetic change that can be inherited. However, currently there are no genes changes that we know of that cause flat feet. Perhaps in your lifetime such a discovery will be made!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
323
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
324
In case, we mixed two or more bacteria in vitro, and isolate their DNA with normal DNA isolation technique, can we call it as Metagenomic DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Depends. Bacteria can have horizontal gene transfer, so when you mix them, you could get a whole mess of new bacteria.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
325
Is having a mental disorder genetic?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Depression, and other psychiatric disorders, do have a genetic component. We know that individuals with a family history of depression have a higher risk of developing it than individuals without a family history. There is also an environmental component, suggesting that psychiatric disorders are due to "multifactorial" or "complex genetic" inheritance.
Selinsgrove High School in PA (9th grade student)
326
Is there a genetic component to cataracts?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Yes. Cataracts have different causes and can occur at different stages of life. Rarely, babies can be born with cataracts. When cataracts occur this early, a child can have cataracts alone or they can have other health issues, in which case the cataracts are part of a syndrome. More commonly, cataracts occur in older adults. In these cases, cataracts are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade student)
327
Do you think scientists will ever have a cure for cancer? When? (TA and VH period 2)
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. The treatments for cancer are rapidly and significantly improving. While there may not be a literal "cure" for cancer, it is likely that cancer therapies will continue to advance until cancer will be treated like a chronic condition that someone can live with, such as Diabetes.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
328
How does evolution account for the creation of DNA?
     Joe McInerney, M.S.: I received my MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. I spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where I was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, i've been executive director of National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, where he develops educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine for a broad range of health professionals. Evolution requires a mechanism that can transmit biological information reliably from one generation to the next. That information also must be capable of undergoing transmissible changes (variation) that can serve as the basis for natural selection in populations. DNA fits the bill as an information molecule. Some biologists think, however, that RNA might have been the first information molecule to evolve.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
329
Is your DNA identical when you're born to when you're very old? Aside from the fact that the phenotype changes from aging... is the genotype identical?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. The genotype can change in response to environmental insults, drug exposure, radiation therapy, and other mutagens, but these changes are probably rare from a statistical standpoint. For the most part, it's pretty stable.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
330
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
331
How many DNA strands are in your body?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. You can figure it out. You have 46 chromosomes in each cell in your body,each is one continuous strand. So all you have to do in multiply 46 times the number of cells in the body and you'll have the answer.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
332
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
333
Is it possible for two blue-eyed people to have a brown-eyed baby?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Yes, it is possible, but would be an uncommon event. Eye color is determined by more than one gene, which is how we get different shades of blue and brown, as well as green/hazel. It is possible that one or more mutations in eye color genes in a blue eyed person's sperm or egg could result in a brown eyed child.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
334
How can you tell what is changed in DNA? Can you use a microscope to see what is inserted/exerted?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Sometimes you can see DNA changes under the microscope. If there are large parts of a chromosomes missing you can see that. If two chromosomes are connected, you can see that. However, most changes in DNA can be detected by sequencing DNA and comparing it to the known standard sequence in the Human Genome database.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
335
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
336
Does genetic information pass through the dominant or recessive cells?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. There are no dominant or recessive cells. Almost all cells go through mitosis and make a copy of the genetic information DNA. Certain genes are expressed as dominant genes, where only one copy of the gene pair needs to be changed, or mutated, for the person to express the associated disease. An example is Marfan syndrome or Huntington disease. Other genes are expressed as recessive genes, where both copies of the gene must be mutated for an individual to express the disease. Examples here are Tay-Sach's disease or cystic fibrosis.
Northern high school in MI (11th grade student)
337
What if your DNA doesn't repicate?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. You have sensitive DNA damage sensing proteins in each nucleus. If they find a part of a chromosome that can't be replicated or repaired, the damage sensing proteins tell the cell to die.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
338
A person's phenotype changes over time due to aging. Does their genotype ever actually change?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. The genotype can change from exposure to mutagens such as some medications, environmental exposures, or radiation therapy, but statistically it's not a very likely thing. The genotype is pretty stable!
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
339
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
340
I want to continue my medical education in molecular biology of emerging infectious diseases. How can I apply genomic biology to infectious disease study?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. We know that certain individuals are more or less resistant to particular infectious diseases. Comparing the genomes of these individuals could lead to discovery of genes or DNA changes that are protective in these individuals. Understanding how those gene products work could potentially shed light on possible vaccines or even treatments for that disease.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
341
How close are you to finding a cure for cancer?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Cancer is actually many different diseases, but most of them are complex diseases, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatments have come a long way because of the greater understanding of the make-up of specific types of cancer, thanks to the Cancer Genome Project and other efforts. Currently, for some types of cancers, it is possible to determine treatment based on the genetic make-up of the cancer tumor. We are also better able to predict individuals who are at greater risk of developing cancer based on their family history. For these people, we can sometimes provide recommendations for preventive measures to take.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
342
is it possible that we can reverse the effects in the brain of ADHD or ODD?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. It is possible, most likely with medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
343
Is it possible to help somebody that is 40 or older with a genetic disease like muscular dystrophy?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. This depends on the meaning of "help." Adults with muscular dystrophy (MD) can benefit from different medical services and therapies, such as physical therapy. There may be some medications that may reduce some features of MD, but there is not a cure for MD at this time.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
344
What type of research is being done with mitochondrial DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Lots. The majority is used for evolutionary research. Mitochondria only come from the mother, so there is no recombination or mixing. They sequences in mitochondria are a very sensitive molecular clock that allow scientists to tell how long an individual has diverged from our most anchent ancestors.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
345
Will they ever try to clone a neanderthal or other human ancestor?
     Vence Bonham, J.D.: Vence Bonham researches the ethical, legal, social and policy implications of genomic discoveries, particularly health professionals' and lay persons' understanding of race, ethnicity and genetics. We are learning more about the history of humans. To learn about cloning (See NHGRI Cloning Fact Sheet). I don't think that will occur.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
346
Is it possible to cure cancer or AIDs with the use of genetics?
     Joe McInerney, M.S.: I received my MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. I spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where I was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, i've been executive director of National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, where he develops educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine for a broad range of health professionals. There is no cure for AIDS at the moment, but genetics plays a role in the search for a cure. Biologists study the genetics of human beings to understand why some people are more susceptible to HIV infection than others and why AIDS progresses differently in different people. They study the genetics of HIV to determine how it might be possible to interfere with the virus's reproduction. Geneticists study cancer to determine why cells lose their genetic control over replication. They also study cells at different stages of cancer to see which genes are being expressed in the hope of finding ways to control the disease.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
347
Are world class athletes genetically different from normal people?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Well... SOME world class athletes are genetically different from "normal" people. Occasionally, we hear about athletes in the news who have conditions such as Marfan syndrome - a person with Marfan tends to be tall, have a long arm span and long fingers, be flexible - and have a higher risk for certain heart problems. I would suppose that most world class athletes are mainly different in their dedication to training and hard work. We're all different - we're all unique!
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
348
What causes someone to be a hermaphrodite? And does it vary if you're more of a boy or a girl?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Hermaphrodism is a disorder of sexual development that happens when a fetus is forming. Early embryos have the ability to develop into either males or females, but the genes and the environment usually result in the baby developing the internal and external parts of only one gender. In disorders of sexual development, something interferes with typical development and leads to sexual parts that may be ambigiuous or may include both male and female features.
Selinsgrove High School in PA (9th grade student)
349
How many years of college did you have to go through to become a scientist or just the position?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. I went to 4 years of college (great), 4 years to get my PhD (better) and 4 years of post doc training (best).
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
350
If one of your parents is born without fingers or toes, is it always genetic?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. No, being born without a finger or toe can have non-genetic causes. There could be a disruption during development that prevents a digit from growing correctly, including constricted space in the uterus or a band of the amniotic sac wrapping around the digit during development.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
351
Is it possible for one twin to be fine, without any defects, while the other twin has defects?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Yes, even identical twins can have differences. Some of these differences could be due to slightly different environments (either during the pregnancy or after), or could be due to a mutation that occurs after the fertilized egg split into two embryos and so only affects one of the twins.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
352
What is the methylated genome?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. About 10 of the "C" bases in the genome are methylated. The patter is very different in different kinds of cells. We have to sequence all the bases to figure out which "Cs" are methylated.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Shawn Burgess, Ph.D has entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease.


354
Where should one place the most concentration on evaulation of genetic studies of specific chromosomes and sequencing when considering Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. ASD is a complex disorder with many genetic factors contributing to condition manifestation. Some promising genetic studies related to autism include genome-wide association studies, copy number variant analysis (often identified through SNP array or chromosome microarray), metabolic profiling, and perhaps genome or exome sequencing.
University of the Rockies in PA (Higher Education student)
355
Is there a way you can change eye color if it doesn't run in your family?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Your eye color is determined by a combination of genes you inherited from your parents. Although you can't change it permanently, some people have used contacts to have a different eye color temporarily.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
356
Is epigenetics the study of gene expression?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. it is part of it. It is very clear that gene regulation requires both specific DNA sequences and epigenetic changes in the DNA.
Balochistan University of IT Engineering and Mgmt Sciences, Quetta (Higher Education teacher)
357
Has chuck norris's DNA been analyzed? If so, what make his genes so much better?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. I don't know if Mr. Norris' DNA has been analyzed. If it has been, he might not want it publicized. I am not familiar with his family history, either. I suspect his dedication to personal fitness, as well as the movie production crews, have a lot to do with it.
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade student)
358
I'm doing a project involving sequencing a gene. In the human genome sequence mapper of NCBI online, there are numbered base pairs. Does "base pair 1" mean the 5` end or 3` end?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. 5' Good luck with the project, sounds interesting.
St. Mark's School in MA (11th grade student)
359
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
360
If people become extinct, do you think there will be another species, if you will, after us?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Humans are a pretty creative and adaptive species so I think our future survival has pretty good odds. That said, evolution never stops and new species are emerging and dying all the time. The world will be a different place in 1 million, 10 million, or a 100 million years from now...
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
361
What happens if something wrong to the human sex gene? (say, XXY. XYY, Trisomy X, etc)
     Joe McInerney, M.S.: I received my MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. I spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where I was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, i've been executive director of National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, where he develops educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine for a broad range of health professionals. Different sex-chromosome disorders have different effects, sometimes including physical and mental disorders. Some, such as XYY, have only moderate effects. Note that it is possible to survive and thrive with an extra sex chromosome, whereas that is normally not the case with autosomes (those that are not sex chromosomes). Down syndrome (an extra 21) is a notable exception.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
362
If dominant or recessive are terms of classical genetics, what are they called in post genomic era?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Interesting question! While the terms dominant and recessive did indeed arise in the era of classic genetics, they are still very important concepts in the post-genomic era. Indeed, many genetic disorders still fall under the realm of dominant and recessive inheritance. However, we are finding that many diseases are much more complicated, so new terms are being more commonly used such as triallelic, pleiotropy, polygenic, modifying/regulating genes, and epigenetics.
Junaid Ahmed (BUITEMS, Balochistan) (Higher Education student)
363
How do you extract six feet of DNA from a cell?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Extracting DNA from a cell requires various chemicals to separate the DNA from the cell's proteins, and then to concentrate that DNA itself. Typically, this done on tissue sample (with many cells) rather than at one cell at a time. The DNA that is extracted from a tissue can then be used for other studies, like sequencing the base pairs to identify mutations.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
364
Is gene therapy risky these days?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Nope. Certainly not nearly as risky as the disease. It is not getting as much attention as the adverse events everybody heard about 10 years ago but today in the US hundresd of patients are enrolled in gene therapy trials. Now a days thousands of patients have undergone gene therapy for diseases ranging from cancer to blindness. Gene therapy has emerged as the treatment of choice for certain kinds of bone marrow cancer, and I saw an inspiring video about blind children who have had their sight restored by gene therapy.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways.


366
Is DNA testing 100% accurate?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. The accuracy of DNA testing depends on what is being tested. Some tests look for a very specific DNA change (single mutation) and these are highly accurate - either the change is present or not. Other tests are reading the DNA sequence of a gene and trying to determine if anything about the sequence could cause the gene to stop working normally. This type of testing may not identify all of the important changes that can cause genetic disease. It's also important to know if we're testing the right gene, and this isn't always easy to know.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
367
What is personalized medicine? How does the study of genetics help with this?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Personalized medicine involves using the information from an individual's DNA to created targeted medicines or therapies for that individual. Since every individual has a unique DNA sequence, it is possible to use those differences to determine what types, and at what dosage, of drugs or therapies they should use when treating disease.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
368
What is polymorphism?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. A change in a DNA sequence. Usually a polymorphism does not cause any major problems. DNA changes that cause major changes in an organism's phenotype are called mutations.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
369
What causes mutations in DNA?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Great question! Most mutations are random events that happen because the cell's replication machinery didn't work 100% perfectly. So the DNA code didn't get copied perfectly into the 2 new cells. However, most of these mutations have so little effect that the body is able to work around them. Rarely, a mutation can be caused by radiation, some chemicals, some medications, or some environmental exposures.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
370
if cancer isn't contagious, why do people get it at different times of their lives?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. In general, cancer is disease of aging. It happens due to the accumulation of mutations in the cells of our bodies over time. So the older we get, the more likely we are to develop cancer. However, some individuals may have a genetic predisposition (mutation) to develop cancer, or may have an environmental exposure (like smoking) that may mean they will get cancer earlier in life.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
371
How does the nucleus know exactly what to do at all times?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. The cell has a very sophisticated system of control that has lots of different ways to regulate the nucleus. The most important regulators for the nucleus are proteins called "transcription factors" that bind directly to the DNA next to genes. When a transcription factor binds to the DNA, it either tells the gene to make more RNA (which gets translated into new proteins) or alternatively, it can tell a busy gene to be quiet. These are the master regulators of gene activity.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
372
If people have web feet, would this be genetic?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Webbed feet, or syndactyly, can be a genetic condition, but it also can occur due to non-genetic causes. Sometimes syndactyly is seen in combination with other physical or cognitive features as part of an inherited syndrome. Other times syndactyly is an isolated clinical finding, but we see that it can cluster in a family, suggesting that there are some genetic factors increasing the chance of syndactyly in that family. Finally, syndactyly can be a non-genetic occurrence, due to a developmental disruption, chemical imbalance, or other effect in the early period of fetal development.
Stevenson Middle School in AL (7th grade student)
373
Is there a way to cure Angelman syndrome?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Angelman syndrome is a rare disorder caused by changes on chromosome 15. Children with Angelman syndrome have developmental delay, differences in the way that they walk, small heads, and a happy demeanor. The symptoms of this condition begin at birth, although they may not be recognized until 6 months or 1 year of age. Although there are currently clinical trials for this condition, there is no cure yet.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
374
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
375
Will science ever be able to help people repair damaged tissue like spinal cords or heart muscle?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. We are getting there. Stem cell transplants may be capable of regenerating damaged tissues, but there is much more work to be done in this area before it is widely accepted as a standard treatment.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
376
How can people use information about their own genes to help with diseases?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Understanding your genes can help tremendously with diseases!! As we learn more and more about the genetic causes of different diseases, we can use this information to make better lifestyle choices. For example, if you are prone to addiction, you might want to stay away from alcohol or smoking or if you are more susceptible to infections, you might want to take more precautions around sick people. Hopefully someday you will help us know even more about the genetics of diseases, so we can help everyone be healthier!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
377
Would it be possible for scientist to insert animal characteristics into a human?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. it is possible, but I doubt there ever will be an example of it. It has taken millions of years to get humans to be just so. I doubt there is an ethical reason to mess with that.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
378
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
379
Do you think we will ever be able to clone a human?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. There are really two questions here. 1) Can we clone a human, and 2) should we clone a human. The answer to the first one is yes, eventually the technology will exist to clone a human being. Many other animals with very similar biology (such as sheep and cats) can already be cloned. So we need to be ready to deal with the ethical issues that will arise once that technology becomes available.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
380
Can we tell which one is 5' and 3' ends of a DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. It is pretty easy with enzymes. There are enzymes that will put PO4 molecules on the 5' strand of DNA and other enzymes that put PO4 on the 3' end of DNA. This is about the easiest way to do it.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors.


382
what happens if you have more than 23 oairs of chromosomes?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Great question. Having more or less than 23 pairs, or 46 total, chromosomes, is called aneuploidy. The effect of aneuploidy depends on the specific chromosomes involved. In general, the bigger the chromosome, the more serious the effect. Many forms of aneuploidy are so serious that these fetuses die very early on in pregnancy. Other forms of aneuploidy result in different physical and mental characteristics. The most common form of aneuploidy that we see is Down syndrome. Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21, where there are 3 copies of chromosome 21 rather than the normal 2. The most mild forms of aneuploidy are those conditions that affect the X and Y chromosome. Sometimes these people do not even know they have an extra or missing X or Y chromosome!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
383
How many genes are in chromosomes?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. It depends on the chromosome...currently, we think there are about 20,000 genes in the human genome. Interestingly enough, that number continues to go down as we do more and more research. Not too long ago, we thought that number was closer to 100,000!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
384
What would happen if you took a fragment of someones DNA and put it with someone else's DNA? lf
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. This has already happened in a limited sense. In gene therapy, a person with a genetic defect has a "normal" copy put in. That normal copy came from another person.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
385
Can you replace some of your DNA with DNA that you want, such as for eye or hair color?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. In cells the live outside the body, it is pretty easy. However doing that in all the cells in your body, or in sperm or eggs, we can't do it.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
386
how does a person end up with more than the needed amount of chromosomes?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Usually, people end up with more than 46 chromsomes because of mistakes that happen during mitosis and meiosis. To make a new cell, pairs of chromosomes must split apart, with one of the pair going to each of two new cells. If the pairs stick together and do not split, one new cell will have an extra chromsome and the other cell will not get a chromsome at all. In most cases, cells with an abnormal number of chromsomes typically do not survive. Having an extra or missing sex chromosome is the most likely situation in which the cells survive and develop.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
387
What has been the most ridiculous question you have answered today?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Actually the questions today have all been fantastic...keep them coming!
East Haven High School in CT (5th grade student)
388
If my mom has Multiple sclerosis, is there is possible chance I could also get it or have it?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Although we don't completely understand what causes multiple sclerosis (MS), we do know that it involves a combination of genetic factors and the influence of environmental triggers. Because it there is a strong influence from enviromental factors, most of the time, the children of a parent with this condition do not develop MS.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
389
How can DNA be used in the future?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. DNA sequencing will be used to really inform doctors about why a person has a particular disease, and it will help researchers develop specific drugs for specific disorders.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
390
Why is it that interspecies mating doesn't produce offspring?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Actually, some interspecies mating does produce offspring. Mating of horses and donkeys can occur in nature and results in a mule, while artificially mating lions and tigers results in a "liger." These offspring may be sterile (unable to produce offspring of their own). In order for interspecies mating to produce any offspring, the two species most be very close in behavior, chromosome number, mechanisms of chemical signaling, and more.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
391
Are there still some mysteries about DNA?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Absolutely! There is so much to still uncover about DNA...especially learning more about the functions of specific genes.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
392
Can normal genetic screening programs calculate how long the endcaps of DNA are(telomeres), and their decay rate, in order to give a life-span estimate?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. At the moment, there are genetic screening tests in place to rapidly check whether newborns appear to be at risk for certain genetic diseases, but I'm not aware of any screening tests for telomere length. From a statistical standpoint, life-span is much more likely to be affected by seatbelt use and smoking than by telomere length.
Eastlake High School in WA (11th grade student)
393
Do personalized medicines use the same technique as biomedicine do (like, Insulin)?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Yes, very much so. Personalized medicine uses the underlying concepts of biomedicine (understanding of underlying disease and physiology) to help tailor drugs to an individual's genetics, metabolism, or physiology.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
394
How bad is the DNA damage required for apoptosis?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. It depends on the nature of the damage (breaks, point mutations, nicks). Typically the DNA repair machinery is pretty efficient (thankfully) so it requires substantial damage to initiate the apoptosis response.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
395
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
396
Will people ever be able to re-grow their own healthy organs outside the body and then transplant them in to replace damaged organs?
     Joe McInerney, M.S.: I received my MS in human genetics and genetic counseling from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, in 1976. I spent more than two decades at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), in Colorado, where I was director for 14 years and wrote textbooks and other educational materials in biology, with a focus on genetics and evolution. Since October 2000, i've been executive director of National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics, where he develops educational materials in human genetics and genetic medicine for a broad range of health professionals. That is only science fiction at this point. Among other goals, stem-cell research hopes to improve the success of transplants by reducing the likelihood of rejection. Getting complex organs to grow outside the body is another major issue, which involves our still-limited understanding of differentiation of cells into specific structures.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
397
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
398
How does somebody with Downs Syndrome get extra chromosomes?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome #21. It usually happens by mistake when the egg or sperm cell is going through meiosis, before fertilization. Occasionally a person with Down syndrome gets an extra #21 chromsome because one of his or her parents has a chromosome translocation. This means that the #21 chromosome is 'stuck' on another chromosome, and so there is a higher chance that they may inherit two #21's from one parent.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator Amy Gaviglio, M.S. has entered the chat. Take a look at her bio: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services.


400
Last year I asked a queation about the Coen-Tayes syndrome. A genetic disease that affects the external characteristics (pasty skin), behavioral traits (inability to feel any emotional do to blockages in the neural synapse) and some new news has come out that this syndrome may be linked to non-heterosexual behavior (unconfirmed). Has there been any reasearch done in the area to futher the discovery of a cure to this genetic disease?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. I've done some quick research and I can't find any mention of Coen-Tayes syndrome in the literature. I have seen patients with Cohen syndrome in the past, but your description does not seem to fit well with Cohen syndrome. In general, genetic syndromes often have a combination of both physical, mental, and behavioral characteristics as you've described above. However, it is usual for a genetic syndrome to be associated with homosexual behavior - usually the underlying genetic condition does not affect an individual's sexual tendencies, other than perhaps to reduce sexual interest.
Jon Frownberger in NJ (Higher Education student)
401
is it possible to change the physical features of a baby while it is still in the womb.
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Yes. This can occur by mechanical forces (such as if there is low amounts of amniotic fluid), or certain chemical or drug exposures. For example, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy have a higher chance of having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome. This can change the baby's facial features, such as having a smooth upper lipand smaller eye openings.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
402
what kinds of genetic defects cause cancer?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. The types of genetic defects that cause cancer are usually those that knock out the function of genes important in cell growth or the repair of damaged DNA. Without these genes, cells are allowed to grow uncontrollably and damaged DNA is not corrected. Understanding the types of genetic defects in cancer is very important and could use more researchers (hint, hint!!)
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
403
Why can't two different species reproduce?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. This is actually by definition. The species classification means that the two animals (or plants or fungi) are different enough at the DNA level or because of physical differences, that they are not able to reproduce. There are many reasons why speciation occurs, but DNA difference are often the major block to successful reproduction.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
404
How is skin cancer caused by the sun's rays? How does it happen?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Cancer is caused by DNA damage at the cell level. When the damage includes the DNA instructions that control cell growth or repair cell damage, that particular cell starts to grow out of control. The radiation from the sun can damage the DNA inside the cells and the skin cells are the most exposed. Our bodies do have the ability to repair DNA damage, but all it takes is one cell that isn't repaired properly. It's a good reason to use sunscreen!
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Christy Haakonsen, B.S. has now entered the chatroom. She is studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism.


406
What is difference between mutation and adaptation?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Mutations may allow an organism to adapt better to its environment. Not all mutations are deleterious, some are adaptive. These allow the organisms that have adaptive mutations to survive better and produce more offspring.
Junaid Ahmed (BUITEMS, Balochistan) (Higher Education student)
407
Is it possible to sequence a person's DNA from their bone marrow?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. DNA is found in cells that have a nucleus. Red blood cells in humans do not have a nucleus, but cells in the bone marrow (which produce red blood cells) do contain a nucleus. DNA can be extracted from bone marrow for sequencing.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
408
What is the probably of Hispanics carrying BRCA 1 and 2
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. From a brief search, it looks like the estimates of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in Hispanics comes from test results of Hispanic women with breast cancer. I found a range of about 3.5% (in a study looking at BRCA1) to about 18% (for BRCA1 and BRCA2 combined). I was not able to find estimates for the general Hispanic population.
Elko High School in NV (11th grade teacher)
409
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
410
Is it possible to have somone look exactly like you but not related?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  No, no two individuals are exactly alike. We all have variations in our DNA that make us unique. DNA can also be changed by environmental factors or by interactions with other parts of DNA. So even though identical twins have the same DNA, they can look slightly different due to these changes.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
411
How is cloning a gene different from cloning an animal or a person?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Basically, it's all about scale. Cloning a gene is usually done in the lab, so you don't have to worry about interactions with other genes or the environment. In cloning an animal or person, you are cloning thousands of genes at a time and all of these genes need to interact appropriately with each other and the environment.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator Sarah Kalia, B.A. has now entered the chatroom. She is studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus will be on cancer genetics.


413
If two parents that have downsyndrome have a child will the child have downsyndrome?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. It is a possibility, but not definite. During meiosis, like chromosomes line up and are split so that one copy of each chromosome goes into each new cell being made. Because individuals with down syndrome have three chromsome number 21, 2 may go into one of the new cells and one into the other. This means that individuals with Down syndrome have more sex cells (eggs or sperm) with an extra chromosome 21. In most cases, cells with 3 copies of any chromsome will not survive.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
414
If we introduce "naked DNA" into the body, will its immune system reject it. Then how can you insert DNA into our body they way the virus does?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. In general The immune system does not recognize DNA as foreign. After all all of our cells have DNA. In some cases, after prolonged exposure to DNA, the Immune system can react against DNA. This is a dangerous but treatable form of autoimmunity. For naked DNA transfer, the exposure is very short. the DNA is either taken up by cells where it is protected from the immune system, or degraded.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
415
Our class aquarium has genetically engineered zebra-fish that glow. How were marine organism genes put into the fish?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. When zebrafish are just born, it is possible to take a very fine glass needle and inject DNA directly into the cell. The "glowfish" were made by injecting the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene from jellyfish into zebrafish embyros. It usually takes a few hundred injections to get a successful gene transfer.
Stevenson Middle School in AL (7th grade student)
416
Do twins have the same dna in there bodys?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Identical twins have nearly identical DNA, but there can be differences in non-coding sequences (polymorphisms). Most "identical" twins can be told apart because they are not physically identical, right? It's the same on the DNA level.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
417
can you alter some ones DNA to never get sick?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. All disease has some component, even infectious disease. However, it is unlikely that scientists will ever be able to completely eliminate disease risk through genetic manipulation. It is more likely that the treatments for genetic disease and other conditions will progress to the point where we can effectively care for people with these diseases.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
418
Is it stressful to try and fix genetic disorders?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. The challenge and hope of finding a successful treatment or even a cure is the driving force behind research on genetic disorders. But it can be hard sometimes when we work with families where no treatment is available.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
419
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
420
How has DNA research changed in the past few years?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. The big one is the new DNA sequencing technologies. This has allowed us to get so much more sequence is so short a time that we have to develop new sequence analysis tools to keep up!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
421
Do you think they will ever be able to detect, treat and fix genetic conditions before babies are born
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. That is hard to know. Some conditions can already be detected and treated before birth or beginning right after birth. A lot of research is aimed at improving our ability to diagnose and treat genetic conditions before birth.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
422
Which comes first, RNA or DNA?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. RNA is usually made from DNA, so DNA "comes first." DNA serves as the template for RNA to be made in the ribosomes of cells. In turn, RNA serves as the template for proteins to be made. DNA would come first in the dictionary too... :)
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
423
Has any person ever been found to be genetically "perfect"? Meaning, no defects or abnormalities.
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  There really is no such thing as a "perfect" set of genes. We all have variations in our DNA that make us unique. Some of these variations cause problems with our health, and some are benign (i.e. they don't cause health problems).
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade student)
424
Does DNA have any role in factoring human behavior?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  The short answer is yes. BUT the environment plays a large role as well. For example, in some families, there may be some people who may be depressed. But there are others that are not. Just because some people in a family may be depressed doesn't mean that everyone will be depressed. And this is because the environment may play a role in whether someone becomes depressed. But the individuals in this family might have a predisposition (i.e. genetics) that may make them more likely to become depressed than other families.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
425
East Haven High School in CT (11th grade student)
426
Will DNA make any medicine or new discoveries in the world?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. It already has! The study of DNA has led to our understanding of many diseases as well as ways to treat those diseases. Every day new discoveries are made about DNA.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
427
What are some common aneuploidies?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Great question. The most common form of aneuploidy that we see is Down syndrome. Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21, where there are 3 copies of chromosome 21 rather than the normal 2. The most mild forms of aneuploidy are those conditions that affect the X and Y chromosome. Sometimes these people do not even know they have an extra or missing X or Y chromosome!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
428
Is the job market for genetic research promising?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Working in public health, and not in research, my information about the genetic research job market is not current.
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
429
Who invented Dna day and why is it on April 25th?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. DNA Day began in 2003 as a celebration of finishing the sequence of human DNA. April 25th was also the day Watson and Crick first described the structure of DNA.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
430
In the sequencing of an mRNA, like in the NCBI database, is it conventional to show the template strand sequence (and the corresponding base pairs give the mRNA sequence) or the mRNA sequence (with U)?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. In NCBI, the sequence of a gene is usually entered using the DNA nucleotides. The reason for that is because there is no good technique for sequencing RNA directly so they use an enzyme called "Reverse Transcriptase" that converts the RNA into DNA making what is called a "complementary DNA" or cDNA. This is easily sequenced using common technologies and is the usual form for data entry in NCBI.
St. Mark's School in MA (11th grade student)
431
Could missing an excessive number of chromosomes be fatal to a person?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Yes. While there are some specific examples of individuals who are living with extra chromosomes, such as down syndrome (3 copies of chromosome 21) and trisomy 18 (3 copies of chromosome 18), most embryos with extra chromosomes do not survive. The most common aneuploidies (having extra chromosomes) that survive involve extra sex chromosomes.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
432
What is antisense technology ? What are its medical applications ?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Antisense technology means using a complimentary strand of nucleic acid to bind to specific sequences of messenger RNA to inactivate them. The intention is to turn off a mutated gene (such as one that causes a genetic disease) to avoid the effect it would cause.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
433
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
434
How far do you think genetic science will go? do you believe it will reach to lengths we thought were impossible?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. I think genetic science is going to continue to unveil amazing things about organisms all over the world. We have already discovered things that scientists 100 years ago could not have predicted...who knows what lies in store for us in the future!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
435
What are your greatest joys of researching genetics?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  There is a lot that still has not been discovered about the way genes work and all of the factors that can change how genes function. I love that there is so much to learn. It keeps my job interesting! As a genetic counseling student, I also love working with patients, learning about what genetics means for them and for their families, and helping them use their family history and genetics to make decisions about their health care.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
436
Can inherited diseases be contagious?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. No. Inherited diseases are NOT contagious. Inherited diseases are caused by a difference in a person's genetics instructions. It isn't possible to have someone's genetic instructions pass to someone else by any form of contact.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
437
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
438
Is there anyway to change your DNA?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. There is no simple way to change the genetic make-up you inherited from your parents that is found in nearly every living cell in your body.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
439
Will there be any foreign DNA in a new born baby such as bacterial or viral DNA ?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. A newborn baby could have an infection of either bacteria or a virus from his/her mother. In that case, if you took a sample from the baby, you might find bacterial or viral genetic information if you were looking for it.
ABABU CBIT,RAJAHMUNDRY (A.P.), INDIA (Higher Education student)
440
Would it be possible for a scientist to insert animal characteristics into a human?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. It might be technically possible to add simple characteristics (say a new photoreceptor to expand the visual spectrum), but the bigger question is whether it would be ethical to do so. As technology advances, these ethical issues will become more and more important.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
441
Is the virus in a vaccine genetically altered or is it similar to being dead?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Generally a virus in a vaccine is inactivated in some way. This can be done by "killing" the virus allowing the body to recognize parts of the dead virus without risking getting the disease. This was the original way of making vaccines, However it is not as effective as giving a live virus with a mutation that prevents it from causing the disease. So you can alter a virus a lot of different ways.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
442
Is a child's DNA similar to their parents?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Yes. A child's DNA is copied from their parents' DNA. So, we expect a child's DNA to be half like their mom's and half like their dad's.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
443
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
444
In the movie "Jurassic Park" they use the complete set of dinosaur DNA to resurrect them. Since dinosaur DNA is near-kaput for millions of years, is it possible to manually repair them without master references?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. DNA is a pretty strong substance and can survive for a long time if preserved in the right conditions. However, it would be virtually impossible to resurrect dinosaurs (or any animal for that matter!) from a small bit of DNA, especially if that DNA was not in good condition.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
445
Will scientists be able to clone DNA in the future?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. The answer is: The future is now. Many common techniques in modern molecular biology involve copying pieces of DNA and placing them into new contexts that allow the scientists to test the functions of genes and proteins.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
446
What organsim do you use in your genetic studies? And do you think it is ethical to use those organisms?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. We use mice. I think it is ethical because i really respect my animals and I do everything I can to make sure I am using them wisely. We do everything we can in cells that live in culture before we even think about doing a mouse experiment.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
447
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
448
If Rosalind Franklin discovered the x-ray diffraction photos and double helix form of DNA the why do Watson and Crick get credit for the discovery on April 25th??
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. This is a great question! Rosalind Franklin did indeed play a huge role in the discovery of DNA's double helix shape. Honestly, I'm not sure why she did not get the credit she deserved, but it seems like her role in scientific history becomes more respected every year, which is great.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
449
What is the difference between RNA and DNA?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The difference between DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) is that DNA is the "source code" that provides all the basic instructions for life. RNA is chemically very similar to DNA, but it represents the intermediate between DNA and proteins. Proteins are the molecules that carry out most of the biological activities in our bodies. So, the general order of things is: DNA is read like code to produce RNA, which is then translated to make proteins needed to build and maintain an organism.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
450
Do people that look exactly alike but are not related have the same dna?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  No two individuals are exactly alike. We all have variations in our DNA that make us unique. DNA can also be changed by environmental factors or by interactions with other parts of DNA. So even individuals who appear very similar are actually slightly different due to these changes.
Wantagh High School in NY (10th grade student)
451
is it genetic that boys mature later than girls?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Partly. Genetics certainly plays a role in the rate of one's physical development and puberty, but it is likely that one's environment also influences how quickly one matures on an emotional or mental level.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
452
Can you insert DNA in a dead organism and make it live?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. I think it depends on how dead the organism is! We can currently freeze yeast and bacteria and bring them back to life by thawing them, and add new DNA to them which they maintain as they replicate. We currently do not have the technology to resuscitate multicellular organisms, like mammals, after death. However, with stem cell technology we can take DNA from a dead organism and put it into a live one, and the live one will have some or perhaps all of the characteristics of the dead organism.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
453
does DNA control the size of your brain? k.b.
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Sure, genes (DNA) affect brain growth. But so do other factors - like nutrition. Also, the size of a person's brain does not necessarily match with how well that brain works. Like the rest of our bodies, brains need rest, excercise, and energy to grow and work their best.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
454
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
455
what is the most common genetic defect
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. This is a good question but not exactly easy to answer. The frequency of genetic conditions (how common they are) depends on the population you were looking at. For examples, caucasians are more likely to have cystic fibrosis than some other racial groups, and african americans are more likely to have sickle cell disease than other racial groups. In general, some of the most common genetic conditions include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome and other chromosome conditions, polycystic kidney disease, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
456
If human DNA is 98% the same as chip DNA, how does our DNA compare with other animals? (ex. goats,dogs,birds)?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. You mean Chimp right? Chimps are more like 99% similar to humans, Dogs and cows are about 96% and mice a bit less, like 94%. Birds are even less, but depending on teh gene, certain sequences and genes are similar in humans and yeast, fruit flies and worms.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
457
Is it possible to genetically modify an animal to taste like another animal? For example can you make a cow that makes bacon bugers?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. While ready-made bacon flavored steaks might be terrific, there probably isn't a single gene that codes for "pig taste". The things that make a cow a cow or a pig a pig are so complex and interrelated that I don't see much of a threat to the bacon double cheeseburger in the near future.
Francis Howell Central High School in MO (11th grade student)
458
What can a high school student do to further genetic research?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Great question! High school students can contribute to research directly by finding internships or other opportunities to work in labs that are doing interesting research. Finding direct experiences will help you to realize what your are interested in and want to pursue.
Eastlake High School in WA (12th grade student)
459
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
460
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
461
When do you think we will be able to choose traits for babies
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. To some extent, we already do. Parents are often offered carrier screening for conditions such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. Parents are also offered prenatal testing for conditions such as Down syndrome. Then health care professionals, such as genetic counselors, help people to decide what to do with this information and to understand their risks to have a baby with a certain condition (such as cystic fibrosis) in a subsequent pregnancy. There is also a new technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis where parents can opt to implant embryos in a mother that do not have a particular condition (such as cystic fibrosis). Most of the traits that we can test for are testable conditions such as cystic fibrosis. However, we are far away from being able to select traits for babies such as eye color, intelligence, or musical aptitude.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
462
During gene expression, are both copies of the specific gene expressed or just one?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. It depends on the gene. There are some genes, like the gene that codes for blood type, where both copies are working and making proteins. For other genes only one copy is supposed to be working, so there is a way for the body to turn-off one copy of the gene. In females, for example, one copy of the entire X-chromosome in every cell of the body is shut-off.
Junaid Ahmed (BUITEMS, Balochistan) (Higher Education student)
463
Why does mating between closely related individuals result in health issues?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Autosomal recessive conditions are more common in children of individuals who are closely related. These conditions are caused by having 2 mutations in the same gene. Individuals who are closely related are more likely to have the same rare mutations because of shared genetic history. Therefore, children of parents who are closely related are more likely to inherit two copies of the same mutations.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
464
what are the five worst mutations you can be born with?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. I think it's not possible to make a list like that. Unfortunately, there are many conditions that are not compatible with life, and still are not treatable. Everyone's experience is unique.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
465
I have ADHD. What does that mean about my DNA?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Many people have ADHD. There is not one "DNA" change that causes someone to have ADHD. We believe that a combination of genetic factors (probably many!) and environment play a role in conditions like ADHD.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
466
DNA has a double helix that looks like a pair of staircases, could it be possible to have DNA that is completely straight when born?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Single stranded DNA can be straight and it can also appear as more complicated forms. Double stranded DNA assumes a helical shape because of the way the nucleoties are assembled. DNA can be bent and folded, but it never loses the helix.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
467
Would you be willing to contribute your own DNA for genetic research on common genetic diseases?
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. Sure, as long as it's kept confidential :) But I'm not sure if I would want to know whether I was predisposed to a particular condition, though, such as heart disease or diabetes.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
468
How many tests are there for Angelman's Syndrome? If one comes back negative, could another test come back with different results?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. This is a fantastic question! Testing for Angelman syndrome (and it's counterpart Prader-Willi) is very complex. Currently, there are about 5 different tests for Angelman syndrome, all of which look at different potential causes of Angelman. One test looks for deletions, one looks for sequence changes, one looks for DNA methylation, one looks for uniparental disomy, and the last one looks for sequence changes in the imprinting center. Because the tests are all looking for different causes, one may come back negative, while another one may be positive.
Shikellamy High School in PA ()
469
Crosby-Ironton High School in MN (10th grade student)
470
Is there something about the DNA of transparent organisms that make them transparent, such as a jellyfish?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Transparent organisms do not have genes for "skin" pigment in their DNA. Skin pigment does serve a purpose in that it protects the organism against the sun's UV rays. Jellyfish don't have that issue for the most part. Interestingly, jellyfish do have pigment in their eyes!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
471
What functions do proteins perform in DNA replication?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. The big protein in DNA replication is an enzyme - DNA polymerase. There are other enzymes that relax the DNA and repair any mistakes that DNA polymerase makes too.
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
472
How do people have 2 different colored eyes? -KO
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. There are different reasons that someone would have different colored eyes, or heterochromia. This can be part of a genetic syndrome, where one gene is changed or mutated in every cell of the body, including the eyes. An example here is Waardenburg syndrome. Heterochromia can also be due to an injury, infection, or growth in the eye.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
473
Why do some diseases affect only humans or only animals when we have the same organs?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. While we do have mostly the same organs, when you look closely at the level of the individual cells (the view something as small as a virus or bacterium would have), the surfaces of these cells can look quite different at the molecular level. So proteins that viruses use to infect human cells could be different enough in a pig that the virus can no longer bind and invade. Sometimes, as with the H1N1 virus, the differences are not so large and the virus can "cross-over" and make adaptive changes that allow it to change species.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
474
In a replication fork, how does it get put back together?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. There are enzymes that connect everything up. Here's an animation that may help you visualize what's going on during replication. http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072556781/student_view0/chapter11/animation_quiz_2.html
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
475
If both parents are homozygous for a certain trait, is it possible for their child to have a phenotype for a recessive trait?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. If the parents are homozygous for the recessive trait, then the child will most certainly have a phenotype for the recessive trait. If the parents are homozygous for the dominant trait, then it is highly unlikely the child with have a recessive phenotype. We never say never in genetics though, because mutations could occur in both parents that cause the child to show a recessive phenotype even though the parents both have dominant traits!
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
476
If many people in your family have gotten cancer, is it likely the next generation will get cancer also?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Family history reflects both genetic and shared environmental factors. Having a strong family history of a specific condition increases an individual's risk of developing that condition. In some cases, there are genes that are known to cause the majority of the risk (for example, BRCA1 andBRCA2). In other cases, we can say that a person is at increased risk based on their family history, but do not know the specific genetic factors involved. Fortunately, there are some preventive steps that can be taken to help reduce risk or to catch cancer at an early stage.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
477
Can DNA be changed later in life?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. There is no simple way to select certain DNA and make select changes. Some natural change in the DNA of our body's cells happens throughout our lives. Some of these changes could be harmful to us - for example, causing cancer. Some may be neutral and have little effect.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
478
For DNA Day at our school we made t-shirts and we had to model them on front of our class. Did other classes do fun things.
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Excellent! Yes, what have other classes done for DNA day?
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
479
Is your destiny influenced by your genes or is it any other factor?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  Genes are only one factor that influences our health and how our body functions. The environment also matters. So in terms of our health, environmental influences like sun exposure, tobacco exposure, and the foods we eat may all make a difference to our health. In terms of other aspects of our lives, our social, family, and spiritual environments play a role in shaping our personalities, interests, and the choices we make about our future.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
480
Do you think it will be possible to take genes that cause cancer out of cells?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Right now the answer is no. We don't currently have the technologies to remove damaged genes. We can find drugs that will kill the bad cells or inactivate proteins that are behaving "badly" but actually fixing the DNA itself is not possible.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
481
How Long is Dna if you strech it out?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. If you take the DNA from a single cell and stretch it all the way out, it will be 6 feet long.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
482
What is the latest thing with DNA You have found or worked with
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. My lab has been finding differences in the number of methylated "C" residues in the genome of different kinds of cells. We think this will help us understand how cells decide to become muscle, brain, blood or stomach.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
483
Is homosexuality a genetic trait?
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. According to current scientific knowledge, there isn't a "gene" for homosexuality. We think that it might be influenced by a number of genes (people have hypothesized that certain areas in the brain might be structured more like the female brain) but there might also be a large environmental component as well (others have hypothesized that hormones in a woman's body during pregnancy might have an effect). So in short, we think that homosexuality is influenced by both genes and environment.
Selinsgrove High School in PA (9th grade student)
484
If I were to have children with someone who is bipolar will the mental illness run in my family for the rest of our existence? Or is it possible that it will die out?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. Bipolar disorder, like many psychiatric disorders, does have a genetic component, but environment also plays a role. If one of your parents has bipolar disorder, then your chance of also developing it is increased, but it is by no means definite that you would develop it. Conversely, it may spontaneously arise in a family with no relatives with bipolar disorder. It is helpful to know if you are at an increased risk to be able to watch for early signs and symptoms, but the greatest likelihood is that the children of people with bipolar disorder will not develop the disease.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
485
What causes cleft lips?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. There are many different factors that can contribute to cleft lip. Interestingly, cleft lip is often associated with cleft palate. Some people just have a cleft lip (CL), some have cleft lip and palate together (CLP) and others just have cleft palate (CP). CL can be part of a genetic syndrome caused by a gene change, and seen with other physical characteristics. Sometime CL is not due to a known genetic syndrome, but it can cluster in families, thus suggesting a genetic component. Finally, CL can be due to an in utero (the time when the mother is still pregnant with the child) cause due to a disruption in the baby's development or a chemical or drug exposure during the pregnancy.
Valley View Middle School in MN (7th grade student)
486
If I get liposection, does that suck the DNA out of my body with the fat?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Fat cells contain DNA so, yes, removing these types of cells removes DNA. All cells, except red blood cells, contain the same DNA and it can be replicated. Therefore, removing some cells and DNA does not change the ability of the body to function as needed. If you develop more fat cells after liposuction, these cells will contain the same DNA as the rest of the cells.
Selinsgrove High School in PA (9th grade student)
487
What makes DNA in the shape of a helix?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. The chemical structure of DNA is such that it naturally forms a double helix when the two strands interact. This structure turns out to be quite beneficial when it comes to packing the 6 feet of DNA that is in every cell into the nucleus.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
488
Are allergies passed on genetically?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Yes. Allergies of different types can run in families. The inheritance of certain allergies may be very clear. For others, there may be a higher tendency for them to develop in family members, but not a certainty.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
489
Is there anyway DNA can go bad?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. It depends on what you mean by 'bad'. Every time DNA replicates itself, there are chances that mistakes will be made during the copying process. Over time, these 'mistakes' add up, which can lead to diseases like cancer, or even just things that happen as we age.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
490
Errors in DNA replication can cause diseases such as cancer, what other diseases can the errors cause?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. Most genetic diseases - and there are many of them - are ultimately caused by errors in DNA replication. Some result from point mutations (many autosomal recessive conditions), while others can be caused by misalignment of the two DNA strands (such as the triplet repeat expansion diseases). I hope you will look up these terms to find out some of the specific diseases.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
491
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
492
What role does DNA play in Torsades de Pointes?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. The genetics of cardiac diseases is a very hot topic right now! TDP is often associated with Long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome, both of which have genetic causes. Interesting, treatment for TDP may also be dictated based on the genetic findings of the individual.
Bo Nerbiter in PA (Higher Education student)
493
If both of my parents are tall, and I'm tall, will my kids be tall ?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. Height is a complex trait that is determined by the combination of many genes as well as the environment. Having a family history of 'tallness' increases the chance of having a tall child, but does not guarantee it. Both parents contribute genetic factors to their child, so the height of your child's other parent would also contribute to overall height.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
494
I've heard about GFPs, and their injection to animals to make them glow (like a glowing green pig in Taiwan). Can tattoo artists affect a section of a skin for GFP markings?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Injecting green fluorescent protein into the skin might make it glow (under ultraviolet light) temporarily, but eventually the protein will be degraded. To make it permanent (like the glowing pig) you have to actually insert the GFP gene into the genome and have it expressed constantly. That is a much more involved process than getting a tattoo.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
495
Do genes control the different instincts that boys and girls have?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. Yes, at least partly, but it's not simple. Boys and girls have different types of hormones - chemical signals - that are produced. These interact with our bodies, including our brains, in different ways. But every boy and girl is still unique, and there are many hormones and signals that we all have in common with each other.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
496
How many times does DNA copy itself in one day?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. This is a great question, but unfortunately there is no one answer. The rate at which DNA is copied depends on the cell it is in, the organism it's in, the age of that organism...lots of different things.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
497
How long did it take to complete the human genome project?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The Human Genome Project officially began in October 1990 and was successfully completed on April 14, 2003.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
498
Is baldness an inherited trait? or does it have to do with problems in a proteins?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. Yes and yes. Baldness is a genetic trait that occurs from both maternal and paternal contributions. All genetic traits are due to the level and kind of associated protein in the body. Genes are transcribed into proteins and proteins interact with each other and with other genes to express clinical traits.
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
499
Do inanimate objects like paper, iPods, cell phones, have DNA (if they haven't been touched by a human being).?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Nope, but all living things have DNA.
Michael in VA ()
500
Is DNA fun to work with? If so, in what way?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Working with DNA is fun because it allows us to ask interesting questions about biology. Alone DNA is kind of boring, a white stringy substance. When we manipulate it to do experiments, then it becomes very exciting (to a scientist at least).
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
501
How can you tell which DNA is which?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. If you mean which DNA came from which parent, most of the time you can't. In some cases, the inheritance pattern can let you know which parent gave a particular chromosome. For example, a boy's Y chromosome and the DNA it contains came from his father, as his mother doesn't have a Y. There are some genetic diseases in which the sex of the parent of origin of the DNA can have an effect. For example, a particular DNA change that comes from a child's mother causes Angelman Syndrome, while the same change from a child's father would cause Prader Willi syndrome. These differences are thought to be caused by epigenetic inheritance, meaning it is something beyond the DNA that makes the difference.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
502
How do scientists celebrate DNA? our school makes t-shirts and we are allowed to bring in food
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The scientists at the NHGRI celebrate by answering questions in the chatroom, and visiting schools to speak to high school students.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
503
I have light brown eyes and my parents have dark brown eyes? What's that about?
     Amy Gaviglio, M.S.: I am a genetic counselor for the newborn screening program in Minnesota. I also supervise the short-term follow-up unit in the program in order to ensure babies identified get diagnosed and services. Eye color is determined by more than one gene, which is how we get different shades of brown, blue, and green eyes. Currently, we know of 3 genes that code for eye color - but it is likely there are others out there!
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
504
What if a person has more DNA than normal?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. It depends on what genetic information is in that extra bit of DNA. We're learning that there are normal differences in the amount of DNA from person to person. There is a term called benign copy number variation (CNV) that means exactly that - it can be normal to have a little more or a little less DNA in certain places of the genome. However, if the extra DNA includes important genetic information, it can interfere with development. This could result in any of the following: delays in learning or mental retardation, physical birth defects, medical health problems, and behavior problems. The specific areas of extra DNA involved determine what problems might happen.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
505
I saw on TV that a puppy was born with green fur. Did DNA have anything to do with that?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Probably. It is possible to introduce genes into fertilized eggs that become part of the genome of the animal. If this injected gene causes green fur, green fur would be passed on to the progeny.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
506
Mechanicsburg High School in PA (9th grade student)
507
A lamb named Dolly was cloned in 2001, Has there been any other clones made with other animals?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Yes, many other organisms have been successfully cloned, including the horse, the cat, the dog, and the camel!
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
508
What are the genes responsible for heart disease?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. There are many genes involved in heart disease. The specific genes depend on the kind of heart disease. The most common kind of heart disease, coronary artery disease, is affected by a complex interaction between many different genes, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
509
What is RNA? Is it similar to DNA?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. The difference between DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) is that DNA is the "source code" that provides all the basic instructions for life. RNA is chemically very similar to DNA, but it represents the intermediate between DNA and proteins. Proteins are the molecules that carry out most of the biological activities in our bodies. So, the general order of things is: DNA is read like code to produce RNA, which is then translated to make proteins needed to build and maintain an organism.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
510
How is DNA made?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. DNA is a very long molecule made up of repeating units called nucleotides. The backbone of the nucleotides is the same, but the "bases" attached to the backbone can change. There are four different bases, (A,C,G,T) and that is where all the genetic information for making an organism resides. DNA is made by the replication machinery in a cell to attach the nucleotide to the backbone.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
511
Is DNA fun to work with?? If you answer my question I can get bonus questions in Biology class!
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. Absolutely. But what's even more fun is what you do with it (i.e. talking to people about their DNA).
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
512
If a male or female can't reproduce; would it be genetic/inherited?
     Joan Ehrhardt, M.S.: I coordinate birth defects tracking, prevention and referral education and activities for state and local programs, health providers and the general public. When a person can't reproduce the cause might be genetic. When a person wants to have children and has not been succesful, they could be referred to a reproductive specialist who might recommend testing to look for certain genetic conditions/changes that cause difficulty getting pregnant/having a baby. Results of the testing can help the specialist know how to work with the couple (for example, what sort of treatment) to help them have a baby.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
513
What causes eczema?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. There are different types of eczema. Atopic eczema is the most common form in children and is due to an overactive immune system. The immune system determines to what you will react and how strong your reaction will be. There are many, many genes that determine the make up immune system. Therefore, more than one gene is responsible for determining whether or not a person develops eczema and to what the person reacts. Atopic eczema tends to run in families. Other types of eczema, including contact eczema, do not seem to have as strong a genetic component. Contact eczema is a specific allergic reaction to a specific object or substance. For example a rash forms when a particular material, such as a new soap is used on the skin or new jewelry is worn.
Northern high school in MI (11th grade student)
514
Does DNA have an "expiration date"?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. Not really, but the DNA in your cells is constantly under attack from the environment. Chemicals, uv light and radiation are just a few examples. These can cause changes or degradation of DNA. Fortunately our cells have DNA repair enzymes to fix all of this damage, keeping our DNA as it should be.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
515
How much DNA do conjoined twins share in common?
     Kimberly Barr, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a board certified genetic counselor with a special interest in developing genetic education materials for patients and healthcare providers. Conjoined twins start from a single fertilized egg, so they have identical DNA.
Valley View Middle School in MN (7th grade student)
516
What is epigenetics?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  Epigenetics describes the area of biology in which researchers study the interactions between genes and the interactions between genes and the environment. So it turns out that just knowing the sequence of a person's genome does not allow you to know everything about their future health. Lifestyle and behaviors (smoking, exposure to sun or tobacco, what we eat) may introduce factors that modify genes and influence health.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
517
Shikellamy High School in PA (9th grade student)
518
Is it possible to transfer the gene of bioluminesencent animals into a human to make them glow?
     Claire Noll, M.S., C.G.C.: I have worked for 10 years in prenatal, cancer, and research (cardiovascular) genetic counseling. That has included a lot of genetics by email, phone, and videoconference, so chatting on DNA Day fits right in. I love working in this field because it can explain a lot that people may have wondered about, such as why people are different in many ways and why they are the same in many ways. The technology may exist, because it has been used in studies with bacteria, plants, and fish (I think). Typically, it is used to show whether a certain gene is turned on. Do you have a particular application in mind?
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
519
You know the disease where you age faster? Like in the "Curious Case of Benjamin Button"? How does that work?
     Dawn Peck, M.S.: I have been the coordinator for Biochemical Genetics Clinic at the University of Missouri Health Care since 2000. My primary interests are newborn screening and public health genetics. Well, I'm not sure what Benjamin Button actually had, because he went from an old man to a baby! One of the prematuring aging syndromes, called "Progeria" is caused by a mutation in the gene called "Lamin A/C". This causes the nucleus in the cell to have a weird shape and then the cell dies early. This typically happens by chance in an egg or sperm that makes a baby. This causes the person to appear to 'age' faster. There are a few other premature aging syndromes known.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
520
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
521
Can mutated DNA cause animals to glow?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Yes, there is evidence of this out there in the wild. Evolution can be thought of as mutations that cause body changes. So the fact that some organisms glow (jellyfish, algae, fireflies, etc.) means that they mutated genes to the point where they began to glow for one reason or another that was beneficial to their survival.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
522
Is a baby's DNA less complicated than a grown ups?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. The DNA you are born with is the DNA you will have the rest of your life, for the most part. The organization of DNA into chromosomes doesn't change, nor does the amount of DNA. Over time, though, mutations or changes in the DNA may occur in specific cells which could lead to disease.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
523
What inside your body makes you old, would it be possible for someone or something to reverse the process?
     Emily Edelman, M.S., C.G.C.: I am a genetic counselor who coordinates multiple projects at a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in genetics to healthcare providers. I currently work with other genetic counselors, scientists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, bioethicists, patient advocates, and other health professionals. I also have experience in providing genetic counseling to individuals with a family history of cancer, and other rare and common conditions. The reason that cells age is because they lose an important DNA element called the telomere over time. The telomeres are pieces of DNA on either end of the DNA strand the protect the DNA from errors. As the cells divide, they slowly lose the telomeres, bit by bit, and the cells become more sensitive to DNA damage. Many researchers are studying the telomeres, and trying to identify methods to keep the telomere length, but there is no treatment for this at this time.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
524
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
525
How do cells in your immune system have memory of the viruses they've fought before?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. You have white blood cells called T-cells that are constantly circulating looking for viruses. when they encounter one, they amplify and signal other white blood cells that make antibodies against that virus. If the T-cells have seen the virus before there will be lots of them around. This is why after you have been vaccinated against measles, you do not get sick if you come into contact with a person who has that virus.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
526
How are some humans immune to certain diseases and others are not?
     Kate Reed, M.P.H., Sc.M.: I currently work as a genetic counselor with both children and adults. As a counselor, I help geneticists with diagnosing people with genetic conditions and helps families understand and adapt to diagnoses. I also works as a project director at the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics where she helps to teach doctors and other health professionals about genetics. There are many gene that determine the make-up of the immune system. There are some specific genes that impact the response to particular bacteria or viruses. For example a mutation in the CCR5 gene is associated with resistance to HIV infection.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
527
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
528
Which organism possess the fastest DNA replication rate?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. I'm not sure. DNA replicates at about the same rate, so the fastest would be organisms with the smallest genomes. That would be viruses or simple bacteria.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
529
is it true if a "bubble boy" interacts with any bacteria they will die?:)
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. A "bubble boy" has a mutation that disables his (or her) immune system in some way. So they are not as able to defend his or her body against foreign invasion. However, we do have other ways to fight infection, such as antibiotics, that can help keep the unfortunate individual alive.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator

ASHG DNA Day Essay Contest

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) has just announced the winners of its annual National DNA Day Essay Contest. This year, high school students had a choice of answering two questions:

Question 1: Scientists can now determine the complete DNA sequences of organisms, including humans. Now that this milestone has been reached, is there a reason to continue learning about Mendel, alleles, and inheritance patterns? Explain your answer.

Question 2: Genetic testing allows geneticists to determine an individual's DNA sequence, and research has identified a number of genes, such as HMGA2 and GDF5, that are associated with height. Will such associations allow scientists and physicians to predict a person's final adult height from infancy? Explain your answer.


The 2010 DNA Day Essay Contest winners are:

For Question 1

  Student Grade School City / State Teacher
1st Place Taylor Medwig 10 Smithtown High School East St. James, NY Maria Trinkle
2nd Place Patreece Suen 11 Partnership for Scientific Inquiry at Oregon Health and Science U Portland, OR Richard Rosenbaum
3rd Place Anthony Arena 11 Bergen County Academies Hackensack, NJ Todd Crane


For Question 2

  Student Grade School City / State Teacher
1st Place Jyotishka Biswas 10 School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt Nashville, TN Angela Eeds
2nd Place Won Ryan Lee 11 Bergen County Academies Hackensack, NJ Todd Crane
3rd Place William Kovacs 12 Winston Churchill High School Potomac, MD Virginia Brown



First place
winners will each receive $400 and their teachers will each get a $2,000 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
Second place winners will each receive $250.
Third place winners will each receive $150.

For complete details, visit: http://www.ashg.org/education/dnaday_winners_2010.shtml.

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you all for participating. Happy DNA Day!




531
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
532
Is addiction genetic?
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. Yes. But there are two important things you should know: (1) both genetics and environment affect addiction and (2) addiction may manifest in different ways. A person may be predisposed toward addiction through their genes; however, if they are not given the right environment, they may not exhibit this behavior. For example, say a person is predisposed to alcoholism because of their genetic make-up. If they never step foot in a bar in their life, they may never become an alcoholic. The second part of this answer is that addiction may manifest in different ways. For example, there may be families where family members have a genetic predisposition to addiction. But one person might be an alcoholic, another might be a smoker, and another might be a gambler.
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
533
MARSHALL WARREN NIRENBERG a great scientist, I think he should be remembered today, as he passed aways some months earlier
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. cheers
Junaid Ahmed (BUITEMS, Balochistan) (Higher Education student)
534
Is bioluminescence part of the genes of the animal? Why do the animals glow?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Yes, bioluminescence is encoded in the DNA of the organism. Different species create light using different strategies, but the only way bioluminescence could be passed from parent to child is through the genes (i.e. the DNA).
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
535
How often does DNA replicate?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. DNA replicates once for every cell division. In humans, cells may divide frequently (like skin cells) or rarely (like brain cells), depending on the function of their tissue.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
536
How is information coded in DNA?
     David Bodine, M.D., Ph.D.: I investigate the genetics of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells (PHSCs) to improve the effectiveness of bone marrow transplantation and to find better ways to use these unique cells for gene replacement therapy. In the order of the bases. In the part of yoiur DNA that is responsible for making proteins, the genetic code is groups of three bases that specify different amino acids. Other DNA sequences specify where DNA will start replicating. Proteins recognize these sequences and bind there to start the process. Other DNA sequences show proteins that make RNA where to set down and start RNA synthesis.
Eastlake High School in WA (10th grade student)
537
Is it possible to look more like your mailman than your father? Is DNA to blame?
     Sarah Kalia: I am a graduate student in my second year of the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. Before graduate school, I worked as a research assistant for a study investigating the psychosocial effects of genetic testing and counseling.  What a creative question. We inherit half of our chromosomes from our mother and half of our chromosomes from our father. So we tend to look similar to our biological parents but not identical to either one. However, when a baby is conceived, parts of the mother's and father's chromosomes can be modified or rearranged. Genes on those chromosomes can also be modified throughout our lives due to interactions between genes, and due to interactions between genes and the environment. These changes could cause a person to look more or less similar to one parent.
Frank Keyack in NM (Higher Education student)
538
If you were trying to insert animal characteristics into a human, how do you extract that certain trait from that certain animal and keep it alive?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. Inserting animal characteristics into humans is a much more complicated process than moving a single gene, but in principle we can use the example of gene therapy where a person with a mutated (bad) copy of a gene is cured by inserting a good copy into the genome. Since the DNA is essentially the same in every cell of an animal's body, you can take a small tissue sample and all the information to make that animal will be encoded in the DNA. You don't have to kill the animal, a small blood sample would have all the same information.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator Linda Hindorff, Ph.D., M.P.H. I am currently working with a number of investigators around the country on a program that is designed to take the most promising genetic variants from recent studies and learn more about them in large populations with extensive data. I hope to learn more about the different pathways that these variants are involved in and possibly identify some environmental factors that may modify disease associations. I am also one of the curators of the NHGRI GWAS Catalog, a summary of findings from published genome-wide association studies.


540
How long do you think it will take to be able to do gene therapy on humans with disabilities such as blindness or deafness?
     Christy Haakonsen, B.S.: I am studying to become a genetic counselor and her focus is on caregiving intervention for children with Autism. This is a difficult question. Most often, gene therapy is done on conditions where we can help alleviate symptoms or intervene on degeneration (i.e. we want to intervene on the process of transcription/translation). If you are referring to people who are born deaf or blind, I'm not sure how gene therapy might reverse these conditions because babies are born with them. If you are referring to people who acquire deafness or blindness via infection or virus, there is some promise that gene therapy might be able to help these people.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
541
What's the latest thing you've discovered about DNA?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. The most interesting thing about DNA to me is how individual differences in DNA can have a major effect on our treatment of disease. We are now in the era of pharmacogenomics, where identifying changes in a patient's DNA allows physicians to prescribe medication that is personalized for that individual to give the best treatment with the fewest effects. No more one size fits all!
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
542
Is it possible to use DNA to make you taller?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Your genes play a large role in determining your height. Thus, theoretically, if you could manipulate genes that contribute to height in a developing baby, you could influence height. However this is not currently possible and not likely to be something that is done in the future. While some folks might prefer to be taller, most of us would agree that being shorter is not an illness or problem to be fixed. It is as much an ethical question as a practical science question.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
543
How many years does it take to get a doctorate in genetic studies?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. The typical path is 4 years of college and 6 years (average) of graduate school. The typical career path to a research position also includes a kind of internship called a "postdoctoral fellowship" for another 5 years.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
544
Is DNA fun to work with?
     Tracy Futch, M.S., Ph.D.: I am a genetic counselor working at DNA Direct in San Francisco. We provide genetic counseling as well as guidance and decision support for genomic medicine to patients, providers, and payors. DNA is fun to work with! Extracted DNA itself looks like clear mucus, but knowing it is the building block of life makes it exciting! If you think you might want to study DNA too, look into molecular biology.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
545
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
546
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
547
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
548
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
549
How do you find the gene that codes for a specific trait in humans?
     Les Biesecker, M.D.: I currently research the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes. Great question! There are several ways to do this. Most of the time this is done by studying families where multiple people in the family have the trait, and seeing which genes follow the trait in the family. Then, one can narrow it down by sequencing a few genes that follow the trait. The exciting recent advance is to use new sequencing machines - we can now sequence all the genes in a patient in as little as 8-10 days! This means that we can now find genes more directly, without waiting to find families with multiple affected members. Enjoyed your question - keep up the interest in science!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
550
Does DNA replication occur at different speeds?
     Barry Starr, Ph.D.: I run a program out of Stanford's Department of Genetics where I train science graduate students how to communicate science to the public. I do this by having the students run fun hands on genetics activities at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and by having them answer people's genetics questions online at our Understanding Genetics website. That's an interesting one! DNA replication speeds can be affected by lots of things. If there are low levels of the stuff to make DNA, then the process slows down as the machinery has to wait for supplies. Also, it depends on the machinery available and how complicated the DNA wrapping is. Bacteria can replicate at 1000 nucleotides per second because of its machinery and because it is relatively simple. Eukaryotes replicate at about 50 nucleotides per second.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
551
What technology do you use to observe DNA inside of cells?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. There are many, many different techniques used to look at DNA depending on the kind of questions you are trying to ask. High powered microscopes can look at proteins binding DNA in the cells, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) will probe DNA at the molecular level (think CSI), and classical biochemistry will allow you to purify DNA from proteins and lipids.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Alan Guttmacher M.D. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio. I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease.


553
Why do my parents have darker hair color than me?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Hair color is determined by a many different genes. They act together and result in a color. So your parents carry many copies of genes that contribute to hair color and are the same as yours. But they represent an overall different combination of gene copies thereby resulting in a darker color.
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
554
What is so interesting about science?
     Barry Starr, Ph.D.: I run a program out of Stanford's Department of Genetics where I train science graduate students how to communicate science to the public. I do this by having the students run fun hands on genetics activities at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and by having them answer people's genetics questions online at our Understanding Genetics website. For everyone it is a little different but I can tell you what I find so interesting. I love to solve mysteries and that's what science is. For biology and genetics, it is solving the mysteries of life one experiment at a time. There is a real rush when you find something that no one else has ever figured out.
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
555
If you have a genetic disorder and you receive gene therapy, will those new genes be passed down to future offspring?
     Elizabeth Kramer, M.G.C., C.G.C., M.D.: I am the supervising prenatal genetic counselor at a busy perinatal practice. We see patients for a variety of indications, including abnormal ultrasounds or bloodwork, prenatal screening and testing and family history of genetic disease. No, anything that gene therapy adds is not inherited because it is not incorporated into the germline
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
556
how do tumors spread? and how do they get larger?
     Alan Guttmacher, M.D.: I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. It depends upon the tumor. Some spread through the blood stream, others or by direct spread. When tumors spread from the original site to a remote one, the new site is called a "metastasis." In terms of getting larger -whether at the original site or at a metastatic site - that happens merely by the cells in a tumor dividing over and over. In fact, in many ways almost any cancer is simply a story of uncontrolled cell division.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
557
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
558
Can DNA affect how smart someone is?
     Della Brown White, Ph.D.: I examine social and cultural factors that may influence participation in genetics research among minority populations. DNA can affect an individual's capacity for processing and applying new information. However, behavioral and environmental factors are key in achieving academic success. The amount of time a person spends completing homework assignments, paying attention in class and using resources like the library can significantly influence academic achievement.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Della Brown White, Ph.D has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I examine social and cultural factors that may influence participation in genetics research among minority populations.


560
How does deafness effect the body?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Deafness often happens with no other effects on the body. Deaf individuals may be born with a defect in the nerves or structure of their inner ears that do not allow them to hear. But this does not mean they are sick or ill in any other way. Given a means to communicate with others, deaf individuals most often grow up to become fully functioning and healthy adults.
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
561
I know that Adenine always pairs with Thymine and that Cytosine pairs with Guanine? What would happen if your DNA didn't pair correctly and then copied itself?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. This does happen occasionally when a mis-pairing happens and DNA replication occurs before a repair can be made. If for example an A pairs with a C and then gets replicated, one strand will be A/T at the location and the other strand will be C/G. In other words the two resulting cells will now have different DNA sequences. This is one of the mechanisms of evolution.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
562
Is there any difference in the way that identical twins' DNA is expressed?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Yes! And this is a really good question. Differences in gene expression contribute to why there are subtle differences in how identical twins look.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
564
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
565
Could a person have seven extra chromosomes?
     Renee Jones, M.S., C.G.C.: I primarily work with patients who have questions or concerns about prenatal genetic testing opportunities. I also see patients who have a strong family history of cancer and may want more information about cancer genetic testing. Family history of genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy can lead patients to consult with me regarding their risks during a current or future pregnancy for these conditions. Chromosomes are packages of genetic information. The normal number is 46; pregnancies can be achieved with extra chromsomes but typically they do not survive for very long. Individuals may have an extra copy of chromosome 21; this condition is called Down syndrome. Individuals may also have an extra X chromosome, and have limited or no clinical effects of the extra genetic material. Outside of a limited prenatal life, a person would not be expected to have seven extra chromosomes.
Elko High School in NV (11th grade teacher)
566
What would trigger a change in your DNA sequence, and could that happen at any age?
     Alan Guttmacher, M.D.: I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. We know many triggers of changes in the DNA sequence, but not all. Among the known triggers are radiation, sun exposure, and certain chemicals. Changes in one's DNA can, and do, occur at any age. However, many of these changes have no effect on one's health or well-being. However, as one gets older that changes can gradually accumulate in a specific cell or organ and create problems.
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
567
is there a disease that can change your genes or DNA?
     Les Biesecker, M.D.: I currently research the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes. Sophisticated question. Although we generally think of DNA as being incredibly stable - there are some conditions where this stability is lost. For example, our cells have a kind of DNA quality control machinery that is called mismatch repair. This allows the cells to check and see if the DNA sequence has changed, and if so, repair it. Pretty awesome, eh? Turns out that if you have a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes, your cells will lose the ability to do this mismatch repair, and the consequence is that these people can have a very high incidence of a particular kind of cancer.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
568
What elements make up the different nucleotides?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Nucleotides are made up of the main elements of biology - carbon, oxygen, phosophate and hydrogen. The bases themselves are made up of one or two carbon rings.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)

Information - Moderator Barbara Biesecker, M.S. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I direct the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and have been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. My primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk.


570
Nonsense mutation? What kind of mutation is that?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. A DNA mutation is a change that results in a premature stop codon.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)
571
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Les Biesecker, M.D. had entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: I currently research the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes.


573
Can DNA affect how smart someone is?
     Jean McEwen, J.D., Ph.D.: I currently manage a portfolio of grants regarding the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics research, focusing on law, genetic variation, and social policy. I also oversee the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) component of the 1000 Genomes Project, the Human Microbiome Project, and various other large genomics research projects. Yes, but intelligence is much more complicated than just being a matter of what genes you inherit from your parents. For one thing, there's not even a consensus about what "intelligence" really is - we claim to be able to measure it by how well someone performs on standardized intelligence tests, but there is a lot of debate about what those tests are actually measuring. We also know that performance on intelligence tests is influenced by lots of factors that have nothing to do with genes, such as the social or cultural environment of the person taking the test. In the end, as with all complex human traits, how smart someone is is undoubtedly influenced by lots of different genes interacting with each other and with the environment. We have lots more research to do in order to fully understand how all of these interactions work.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
574
What made you decide that you wanted to work in genetics?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. I loved genetic principles in school and wanted to work with people who were affected by a genetic condition or concerned about their risks. I was drawn to the deeply personal effects of genetic information and the difficult choices people face. It is extremely rewarding work.
Lowell High School in CA (11th grade student)
575
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
576
Hi, I'm Taylor. I was wondering, what is the difference between DNA and RNA?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. The difference between DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) is that DNA is the "source code" that provides all the basic instructions for life. RNA is chemically very similar to DNA, but it represents the intermediate between DNA and proteins. Proteins are the molecules that carry out most of the biological activities in our bodies. So, the general order of things is: DNA is read like code to produce RNA, which is then translated to make proteins needed to build and maintain an organism.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
577
What do you think are the main barriers that are slowing the widespread adoption of pharmacogenetic testing - e.g. warfarin sensitivity?
     Alan Guttmacher, M.D.: I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. That is a great question. There are a number of barriers. One is developing tests that work in the real world of clinical medicine - that are sufficiently inexpensive, accurate, and can be done quickly enough to be of actual benefit in the "real world." Another, of course, is fully understanding the ramifications of any specific mutation. A third is educating health professionals about pharmacogenetic testing and when it - and is not - helpful.
Juinting Chiang in MD ()
578
Junaid Ahmed (BUITEMS, Balochistan) (Higher Education student)
579
How severe are the consequences if mtDNA mutates?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Mutations in mtDNA result in a wide variety of conditions that can be so mild that they cause no disease to some that are quite severe.
Surya Bangsa Elementary in Indonesia (8th grade student)

Information - Moderator Amber Trivedi, M.S. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I work for "InformedDNA", which provides genetic counseling over the telephone. I provide cancer and reproductive genetic counseling, lead a team of other genetic counselors, and am involved in InformedDNA's business processes.


581
What are some of the reasons that encouraged you to become a scientist?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. I loved asking questions and finding out the answers, and I loved trying to figure out puzzles - that's really what being a scientist is all about. Plus for me, I really loved biology, and most of all, I wanted to keep finding out more about how we work - we're the most amazing machine ever,
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
582
How long would all the DNA in a human body be?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. There is roughly 6 feet of DNA in every cell in your body. Current estimates for the number of cells in the human body is approximately 100 trillion so that would put you at about 600 trillion feet of DNA...
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
583
What is your opinion of working with DNA?
     Les Biesecker, M.D.: I currently research the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes. I love to answer this question because I am both a geneticist and a doctor. So I get to work with patients with inherited disorders and work in my laboratory on their DNA. I find it incredibly rewarding to do this research because it allows me to answer really important questions that my patients ask. They want to know: what disease they have, what is going to happen over time, and what they can do to treat it. By working with their DNA I can answer these questions, and help them deal with the condition they have and take steps to avoid problems in the future. For those reasons, I think working with DNA is the coolest thing one can do!
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
584
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
585
Are there any diseases that can cause your gender to change?
     Alan Guttmacher, M.D.: I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. There are no diseases that cause your gender to change after you are born. There are a few, relatively rare conditions, (for instance, one is called "testicular feminization syndrome") that cause someone whose chromosomes would suggest they are of one gender to have physical attributes more often associated with the opposite gender.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
586
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
587
Do genes make girls and boys think differently?
     Della Brown White, Ph.D.: I examine social and cultural factors that may influence participation in genetics research among minority populations. Our genes can influence the way that we think as individuals. Regardless of our gender, we have to actively engage in making the best of our abilities to learn and process new information. As a student it is important to complete homework assignments, asks questions, and pay attention in class to be academically successful.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
588
Does DNA replication slow down during sleep?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. DNA replication is directly tied to whether a cell is dividing or not, but at least in an adult, it is not particularly tied to sleep cycles. In an adult, most cells are not dividing at all.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
589
My great uncle had colon cancer, my aunt had pancreatic cancer and my other aunt had breast cancer. What are my chances to get a cancer as a male?
     Renee Jones, M.S., C.G.C.: I primarily work with patients who have questions or concerns about prenatal genetic testing opportunities. I also see patients who have a strong family history of cancer and may want more information about cancer genetic testing. Family history of genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy can lead patients to consult with me regarding their risks during a current or future pregnancy for these conditions. Cancer is thought to be caused by alterations in genes which keep cells growing in the appropriate manner. When the cell's growth mechanisms are disrupted, uncontrolled cell growth can occur, which is cancer. Our risk for developing cancer increases as we age. Some families have an inherited susceptibility to developing some types of cancers, due to inherited genetic alterations, in addition to genetic alterations that occur as we age. Families with cancers at young ages are characteristic of familial cancer syndromes. Some types of specific cancers are seen more often in familial cancer syndromes, such as colon, breast, or ovarian cancer in individuals in their 30s or 40s. Inherited cancer susceptibility genetic alterations can be passed down through males, even if the cancer risk is for a female cancer such as ovarian cancer. Males have a small amount of breast tissue and can develop breast cancer, even though this is very rare.
Elko High School in NV (11th grade student)
590
Do you know of Cynthia Kenyon? She is a biologist who specializes in extending the life of organism by altering the daf-2 gene.
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. Cynthia Kenyon is a faculty member at the University of California San Francisco, in general she studies the genes that control aging using the roundworm ( a well-studied model organism) as a model. It's really cool research - mutations in daf-2 actually double the life-span of the organism!
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)
591
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
592
What crops have been genetically altered?
     Sarah Harding, M.P.H: I am a Community Outreach Analyst at the NHGRI. My programs involve outreach to diverse communities, and exploring how genetics and genomics can best be communicated to the public. Researchers have been successful in in genetically altering various crops (corn, cotton, soybean) to make them grow better, resist drought, avoid damage by pesticides, etc. Some of these are being used on a large scale in various places in the world, while others are still be tested to see how well they will do in the real world.
McClesky Middle School in GA (7th grade student)

Information - Moderator Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. has entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: Eric D. Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a position he had held since late 2009. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). Since the early 1990s, Dr. Green has been extensively involved in efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project, and more recently has involved several major efforts that utilize large-scale DNA sequencing to address important problems in genomics, genetics, and biomedicine.


594
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
595
Can someone have a child that has none of their characteristics but still be their's?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Children share half of their genetic information in common with each of their parents. Many of our characteristics are highly heritable such as height and skin color. But other characteristics like personality are influenced by genetics but not as directly determined by our genes. So it depends upon what characteristics you are asking about. Usually children resemble their parents. But in some cases less obviously. In a rare situation, a child may inherit a condition like albinism and have very pale skin, blue eyes and white hair and have parents who are dark skinned. The child still shares half his/her genes in common with each parent, but a gene mutation for albinism overshadows the physical expression of other genes.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)

Information - Moderator Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D., has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics.


597
Have they ever cloned any human organs? Why haven't we heard about it?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. There are two examples of organs that have been grown in culture. One is skin (the largest organ in our body). The other was a human bladder was grown in culture. Other organs are still too structurally complex to be grown.
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
598
How much DNA is in the human body?
     Elizabeth Kramer, M.G.C., C.G.C., M.D.: I am the supervising prenatal genetic counselor at a busy perinatal practice. We see patients for a variety of indications, including abnormal ultrasounds or bloodwork, prenatal screening and testing and family history of genetic disease. The total length of DNA present in one adult human is 2.0 × 1013 meters That is the equivalent of nearly 70 trips from the earth to the sun and back. It is packaged into 46 chromosomes, which are microscopic
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
599
Will there be any possibility to find a personalized medicine in view of the human microbiome and human genome projects?
     Renee Jones, M.S., C.G.C.: I primarily work with patients who have questions or concerns about prenatal genetic testing opportunities. I also see patients who have a strong family history of cancer and may want more information about cancer genetic testing. Family history of genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy can lead patients to consult with me regarding their risks during a current or future pregnancy for these conditions. Personalized medicine based on genomic information is a goal of genetics and medical researchers. Individual genetics information is already being examined when physicians consider different chemotherapy or other pharmacological choices in treating some diseases. As we learn more about how genetics contributes to disease and normal human biochemistry, we expect that personalized medical choices will continue to expand.
Sindhu Mahavidyalaya Institution, Nagpur, India (Higher Education student)
600
Can DNA be replaced in our body?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. It can - think of things like blood transfusions and organ transplant, although these are examples of whole cells (but that's DNA!). If you're talking about gene therapy, researchers are working on therapies for many diseases using delivery systems that replace the native DNA with the introduced copy. Success has been obtained in some cases, for example some children with the autoimmune disease SCID, but is still highly experimental.
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
601
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)
602
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Shawn Burgess, Ph.D., has entered the chatroom. Take a look at his bio: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease.


604
is cancer in a child's DNA if only one parent got it?
     Alan Guttmacher, M.D.: I serve as the Acting Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where I oversee the institutes efforts to conduct and support research on the health of children, adults, families, and populations. My areas of expertise include pediatrics, medical genetics, and the development of new approaches for translating the findings of the Human Genome Project into better ways of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. cancers are usually caused when a series of genes in a specific cell accumulate mutations or changes. Usually these changes occur only in somatic (of the body ) cells. Occasionally some of them may also occur in germ cells (the cells of the egg or sperm). It is only mutations that occur in germ cells that can be passed on to the next generation. The chance of developing cancer if one of your parents has cancer depends on many factors - particularly the type of cancer. If this a question that anyone wants to pursue further, there are specialists known as genetic counselors that can go over your own family history with you and help figure this out.
East Haven High School in CT (10th grade student)
605
Do you ever get infected by whatever you do an experiment with?
     Shawn Burgess, Ph.D.: I currently study developmental processes and their relation to human genetic disease. There are many safety regulations in place to prevent infections. The level of precautions are directly related to how dangerous the material is that is being handled. There are many more regulations for handling ebola virus than there is handling E. coli.
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Della Brown White, Ph.D., has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I examine social and cultural factors that may influence participation in genetics research among minority populations.


607
How does a gene know what to do and how?
     Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: I currently investigate genetic discrimination, direct to consumer marketing of genetic tests and pharmacogenomics. The answer is regulation. Regulation, regulation, regulation. genes are controlled by a combination of genetic elements (some near and some far from the gene itself) and by proteins that bind these elements. Through these mechanisms, genes are turned on and off and regulated up and down.
Belle HS in MO (11th grade student)
608
What is it that you actually do and what are your daily responsibilities?
     Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D.: Eric D. Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a position he had held since late 2009. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). Since the early 1990s, Dr. Green has been extensively involved in efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project, and more recently has involved several major efforts that utilize large-scale DNA sequencing to address important problems in genomics, genetics, and biomedicine. Lots of email (receive probably 200 emails a day, send probably 100 emails a day), non-stop meetings, and an occasional conference call. But via those emails, meetings, and phone calls, I get to lead an outstanding organization whose mission is quite compelling-- figuring out how best to use genomics to understand human biology and improve human health. My real responsibility is to lead the largest funder of genomics research in the world-- which is actually a great honor and a huge challenge.
Flint Northern High School in MI (11th grade student)
609
Can the study of Dna further our study in stopping cancer from spreading?
     Barbara Biesecker, M.S.: Barb Biesecker directs the JHU/NHGRI Genetic Counseling Training Program and has been doing genetic counseling for thirty years. Her primary interests are in achieving quality of life for those affected with a genetic condition or at risk. Yes. Genes and proteins they express play a critical role in cancer development and progression. Studying cancer genes is important to our future understanding of improved treatments.
Brownsville Area High School in PA (9th grade student)
610
What does the deletion of chromosome 17 Q12 mean?
     Les Biesecker, M.D.: I currently research the clinical and molecular delineation of human malformation syndromes. If you are asking about the way we describe deletions, I can give you a primer on this. The chromosome pairs are numbered from largest (1) to smallest (22) plus the sex chromosomes (X & Y). So, pair 17 is one of the smaller ones. All chromosomes have a centromere, and that centromere is not in the center - so the chromosome on the short side is called the P arm and the chromosome on the long side is the Q arm. Then, we divide chromosomes into segments, based on the fact that the segments stain differently with a chemical dye, and we call these bands. Then these bands are divided into sub-bands. So, you are referring to chromosome pair 17, long arm, band 1, sub-band 2. This describes a patient with one chromosome 17 that is missing this piece. Great question!
Shikellamy High School in PA ()
611
What are the obligations of cloning a human? What are the risks? Has it been done or not?
     Judy Miller, M.S.: I retired several years ago from my position as genetic counselor after establishing a new program in cancer genetic at Carle Clinic in Urbana, IL. Prior to that, I worked for many years in a setting where I practiced genetic counseling where I worked with patients in all areas of genetics: pediatrics, prenatal, adult genetics, and metabolic. I participated in this chat room last year and enjoyed it very much! No, it has not been done and I do not expect that it will be done. Cloning requires difficult laboratory techniques and very often the result is not what is expected or hoped for. In my opinion, we cannot experiment with human life in this way
Palms Middle School in CA (7th grade student)
612
Flint Northern High School in MI (10th grade student)

Information - Moderator Elizabeth Kramer, M.G.C., C.G.C., M.D., has entered the chatroom. Take a look at her bio: I am the supervising prenatal genetic counselor at a busy perinatal practice. We see patients for a variety of indications, including abnormal ultrasounds or bloodwork, prenatal screening and testing and family history of genetic disease.


614
What is a DNA?