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No.4 Genes Genie

September 16, 2009
by Kiki Namikas
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci

Experimental Man

Getting your genes tested is all the rage these days, but few really know what the results mean. So David Ewing Duncan, a science journalist and a visiting researcher at the Graduate School of Journalism, sent 14 vials of blood to a lab in Canada, which analyzed his genetic markers. Out of 317,000 genetic markers (SNPs), Duncan carries 145 that indicate mutations associated with diseases and medical conditions ranging from myocardial infarction to restless leg syndrome. Working with the Center for Life Science Policy, he is putting the results online in an interactive, virtual world a fusion of science, learning, and new media called The Experimental Man.

Click on the man’s eyes, for example, and you’ll be routed to an extensive database of studies, links, and information about genes, environmental chemicals, the brain, and the body. The site, and Duncan’s book of the same name, aim to make genomic studies comprehensible to those of us who aren’t Watson and Crick.

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