by Kevin Schofield
This weekend, we’re reading about genetics research, a rapidly progressing field with some unfortunate ties to backward, outdated ways of labeling groups of people.
Much of genetic research is about trying to link a “genotype,” specific instructions written in a living organism’s DNA, to a “phenotype,” a physical attribute that was generated by that genotype. Those attributes can include the color of someone’s hair, skin, or eyes; body shape (like height, foot size, the length of fingers and toes, or the shape of your nose); or specific body functions that might be inherited, like near-sightedness, high blood pressure, sickle-cell disease, or even whether cilantro tastes bitter.
Continue reading Weekend Reads | A Closer Look at Genetic Research
by Kevin Schofield
Do you remember the “tree of life” that we all studied in high school biology classes, the one that documented how the species on Earth today descended from common ancestors? For hundreds of years, species ancestry was pieced together the hard way: by comparing the phenotypes of organisms. A phenotype is the set of observable characteristics of a species, everything from basic size, shape, and color to specific body parts, such as fingers, toes, wings, and eyes. Understanding that evolution is a long series of small adjustments, rather than large leaps, biologists looked for physical resemblances to make judgments about how closely related two species are.
Continue reading Weekend Reads | Coyotes and Gray Wolves and Dogs, Oh My!
I read an article a while back about Ralph Taylor, a white business owner from Lynnwood who took an at-home DNA tests that estimated he was 90 percent European, 6 percent Native and 4 percent sub-Saharan African. Now he, of course, feels he should be qualified for insurance breaks meant for business owners of color, naturally.
Continue reading The Minority Report: Lynnwood Man Uses DNA Test to Claim Native Identity