Dr. Barry Starr

Dr. Barry Starr (@geneticsboy) is a Geneticist-in-Residence at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA and runs their Stanford at The Tech program. The program is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Stanford Department of Genetics and The Tech Museum of Innovation. Together these two partners created the Genetics: Technology with a Twist exhibition. You can also see additional posts by Barry at KQED Science, and read his previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.
In some cases a man can be both father and uncle to the smae child. The wonderful genetics of chimerism. (Wikimedia Commons)

Powerful Genetic Test Prevents Paternity Mix-Up

A couple who used a fertility clinic to conceive was ready to sue when the child’s blood type didn’t match up with mom and dad’s. Obviously the clinic had used the wrong sperm or made some other awful mistake. Except in this case they probably hadn’t. The couple, whose case I worked on, gave me … Continue reading Powerful Genetic Test Prevents Paternity Mix-Up →

The human genome is packaged into a series of loops. This representation is from the Genome: Unlocking Life's Code exhibition, currently at The Tech Museum in San Jose. Each color represents a separate chromosome.

Scientists Create the Most Precise 3D Map of the Human Genome Yet

Until recently scientists have not been able to figure out the information coded in the folding of our DNA in the nucleus. A new map now makes this task simpler. This kind of map will not only tell us how the instructions in our DNA lead to making each one of us, but it may also provide new ways to understand and even treat diseases like cancer.

We can now begin to piece back together the DNA of long dead people using the DNA of their modern relatives. (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists Used Modern DNA to Reconstruct Part of a 19th-Century Man’s Genome

Until recently, you pretty much had to rely on family stories that were passed down through the generations to learn about your ancestors. But that is now set to change. With a little luck, a whole lot of science and genealogy, you may be able to use passed down DNA instead of stories to learn a bit about that great-great-great-grandfather.

Two DNA regions may contribute to male homosexuality. (Wikimedia Commons)

New Study Sheds Light On Two Regions of DNA Linked to Male Homosexuality

There is little doubt any more among the research community that sexual preference is a combination of both nature and nurture. In other words, it comes about because of both genes and the environment. The next questions to answer have more to do with how much each contributes and which genes and environmental factors are involved.

In a spectacular bit of science, a group of scientists has sequenced the DNA from the femur of a man who died 45,000 years ago. The femur is over 20 times older than this 2000 year old one. (Wikimedia Commons)

Oldest Sequenced Genome From 45,000-Year-Old DNA

In a technological tour de force, a group of scientists have managed to read most of the DNA from the thigh bone of a 45,000 year-old-man. They were able to estimate that humans and Neanderthals bred in a major way 50,000-60,000 years ago and to confirm that the human mutation rate is a bit slower than scientists previously thought.