What traits are heritable? How different is your DNA from a frog's, a mouse's or even your relative's? Can your genes tell doctors what is the right dose of a medicine for your body? These are the types of questions scientists are answering with genetics and genomics. By studying individual genes as well as genomes, the whole set of DNA belonging to an organism, scientists hope to get a more complete understanding of how our bodies work and develop better disease treatments.
Have you ever looked at two girls and thought they looked so similar that they must be sisters? What about a father and his son — have you ever seen a boy who looked just like how his father did when he was younger? We can often tell that two people are related because they appear to have several similar physical traits. This is because children receive half of their DNA — their genetic blueprints — from each parent. What about fingerprints — are they an inherited trait?…
Over time, viruses evolve. Their evolution is influenced by both neutral drift, the natural mutation rate of the virus, and selective pressure from the hosts' immune systems. Scientists study a virus's genomic evolution—the changes at the nucleotide and amino acid level—to better understand how the virus is spreading and the clinical implications. You can use public databases and tools to do the same type of tracking and analysis of COVID-19 that scientists around the world do. …
Some characteristics, like the shape of your hairline or whether your earlobes are attached or detached, are inherited from your parents. In this science project you will see how writing these characteristics onto a family tree can help you determine how they are inherited
In a survey conducted from 2007 to 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 49% of people in the United States had taken at least one prescription drug during the past month, and about 22% of people had taken three or more prescription drugs. People are prescribed drugs all the time, but prescriptions can be dangerous because people can have different responses to drugs. These responses largely have to do with genetic mutations. Why are some genetic…
Remember going to the doctor and getting vaccine shots? It is no fun getting poked with a needle, but fortunately, a vaccine gives you protection against a serious illness for years to come. But what about the flu vaccine? How come there is a new one every year? This science fair project will show you why.
Our genes are made up of hundreds to millions of building blocks, called DNA nucleotides, and if
just a single nucleotide of DNA becomes mutated it might cause a devastating genetic disease. But
sometimes a mutation actually does no damage. What kinds of mutations have to occur to cause a genetic disease?
In this science project, you will explore online genetic databases to identify how a mutation in a gene
can result in a dysfunctional protein, and how other mutations may have no effect…
Have you ever wondered why a plant that grows well in one environment may not survive in a different environment? For example, plants that grow well in a wet jungle would probably not do so well in a dry desert, lacking enough water. This is because plants have adapted to their specific environment. Some plants have even adapted to tolerate chemicals that would usually be toxic, such as various heavy metals. In this plant biology science project, you will investigate whether different…
Scientists recently found that some small drugs can stop infection by the deadly Ebola virus in
its tracks. Lab researchers found that these drugs bind to a protein that the Ebola virus uses to enter
our cells, and this is how infection is prevented. However, this also means that the bound protein no
longer functions in our cells. How might these drugs accidentally disrupt important biological processes
in our bodies? What other proteins might these drugs bind to? In this science project,…
Imagine that a biologist arrived at your big family reunion and had no idea who were sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., but tried to sort it out by how all of you look. Just based on how you look, would s/he be able to guess whether the kid standing next to you is your sister or your cousin? The biologist might be able to make some good guesses this way, but by using samples of your family's DNA, s/he could construct your whole family tree. In this project, you'll use a Web-based…
Can you imagine Valentine's Day or Halloween without chocolate? Well, if you're a chocolate lover
brace yourself for the bad news. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Worldwide
demand for cacao now exceeds production." If there isn't enough cacao, the major raw ingredient for
chocolate, then the chocolate supply will dwindle. Hang on! Before you start rushing to the store to buy
all the chocolate you can get your hands on, a solution is already in the works. In…