Taste Receptors: Bitter, sweet, and much more

Ever wonder why some people don’t like Brussel sprouts or strong, dark coffee?  Some people love a good, dark roast, cup of coffee – and Brussel sprouts and cabbage taste just great. It turns out there is a lot of variation in the way…

Genetics of Double Lashes

Ever wonder why Elizabeth Taylor had such compelling eyes? It turns out that she probably carried a mutation for doubled eyelashes, also known as distichiasis. [article] The FOX (forkhead box) family of genes codes for a type of protein known as a transcription factor. …

Will you go bald? Genetics and baldness

Male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, is a condition that will affect the majority of men of European descent by the age of 50.  So the question of “Will you go bald” should be… “Will you be the one who keeps your hair?” What…

Wine Tasting Genes: How your genetic variants influence the way that wine tastes to you

When you think of wine, do you wax poetically about the subtle notes of springtime apple blossoms with hints or truffles — or do you just hope that all your friends can’t tell that you secretly like “Two-Buck Chuck” the best? If you aren’t…

Are you genetically less likely to get the flu?

Have you ever wondered why some people never seem to get the flu when it is going around?  Turns out that our genes play a role in both our immune response to the flu virus and the virus’ ability to replicate in us. Simply…

CRISPR Babies and HIV Resistance

Headline news from two weeks ago proclaimed that the first genetically modified babies (twins) had been born in China. The CRISPR gene editing tool had been used on the embryo to edit the babies’ genome in such a way that they would be likely…

Are you genetically more likely to have twins?

Twins tend to ‘run in families’, which is a colloquial way of saying that there is a hereditary component that increases the likelihood of having twins. Twin Births: According to the CDC, the number of twin births has risen 76% since 1980. Estimates show…

The ‘redhead’ gene

I remember in high school learning about Punnet squares; people with brown hair had the dominant hair color gene and red hair was recessive. It turns out it isn’t nearly as simple as having a red hair gene or a brown hair gene. Nor…

Oxytocin Levels: Genetics of the Love Hormone

Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus region of the brain.  Often called the “love hormone”, it is involved in parents bonding with their baby, recognition of other’s emotions, and overall social involvement. What is Oxytocin? Oxytocin is produced at a high level…

Caffeine Metabolism and Your Genes

Whether you start your morning with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, caffeine remains the most popular ‘drug’ of choice for a large percentage of the population. Caffeine wakes us up by blocking the adenosine receptor.  Caffeine also acts as a central…