October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and although this genetic condition is more common than you may realize, it's also surrounded by misconceptions. There are plenty of ways to get informed about Down syndrome, whether you're directly affected by it or not — starting with this quiz!
How'd you get those dimples or those brown eyes? From your parents, of course! We know that we inherit half of many of our personality and physical traits from mom and dad, but what else do we know about those all-important genes? If you've ever wondered how your wee ones turned out the way they did, take this true or false quiz to see what you know about the role those genes really play!Take the Quiz
Stanford University researchers have identified the gene that makes dogs' fur black, and may also shed light on differences in people's body size and ability to cope with stress! The work narrowed the genome region to a gene that makes a beta-defensin protein – one version of this beta-defensin gene produces yellow pups, and another produces black. In fact, all dog coat colors are modifications of black and yellow! A Dalmatian, for example, may appear spotted but, based on genetics, it's considered black.
This project started a couple years ago with Boxers and Great Danes of different colors. Once the genome that differed between them was identified, scientists moved on to 36 other dog breeds, gathering hundreds of cheek swab samples. A human can have between 40 and 50 different defensin genes; dogs can have up to 46. This one is part of the melanocortin pathway – shared by canines and humans – that determines skin and hair color along with weight and stress adaptation.
Pretty soon you're going to be able to blame your mom for giving you more than you may have originally thought.
Recent reports claim that your body shape is determined primarily by your genes. Researchers identified three fat-predicting genes: T-box 15, glypican 4, and homeo box A5 (... the names sound more like the names of rappers than the names of genes if you ask me). This could explain why you may feel like a pear when your co-worker (who eats worse than you) is more like a banana.
Why should we care about this news? Well the newly found genes may finally give researchers clues for obesity drug development in the future. But for now, if you feel like your own genes may be working against you, eat a healthy and balanced diet and start exercising.