Seven Big Misconceptions About Heredity

Carl Zimmer in Skeptical Inquirer:

If someone says, “I guess it’s in my DNA,” you never hear people say, “DN—what?” We all know what DNA is, or at least think we do.

It’s been seven decades since scientists demonstrated that DNA is the molecule of heredity. Since then, a steady stream of books, news programs, and episodes of CSI have made us comfortable with the notion that each of our cells contains three billion base pairs of DNA, which we inherited from our parents. But we’ve gotten comfortable without actually knowing much at all about our own genomes.

Indeed, if you had asked to look at your own genome twenty years ago, the question would have been absurd. It would have been as ridiculous as asking to go to the moon. When scientists unveiled the first rough draft of the human genome in the early 2000s, the final bill came to an Apollo-scale $2.7 billion.

More here.