Bridging the Science Gap: “Ask a Geneticist” connects public and educators with real scientists
One of The Tech Interactive’s longest running resources gets a glow up, heeding the call for more transparency in science.
San Jose, CA, April 20, 2022– The Tech Interactive relaunched one of the most popular tools for understanding genetics ahead of National DNA Day, April 25. Ask a Geneticist is a website powered by Stanford scientists answering questions from people curious about DNA. The wildly popular resource, which saw almost 4 million page views over the past year from all over the world, is now easier to navigate, read and explore burning questions like:
- Can you make a mini-elephant?
- How closely related are X-Men characters Wolverine and his clone Laura Kinney?
- Why can crabs regenerate limbs while humans can’t?
- Why didn’t my ancestry results show Native American ancestors?
“We do get a fair amount of quirky questions. Our hope is always to make genetics feel less daunting for people, especially teachers who need support with complicated topics,” said Abbey Thompson, Director of Educational Outreach, Stanford Genetics. “We’re responding to the growing recognition that scientists need to learn how to communicate with the public, and the public needs greater access to factual information.”
Thompson and her team spent a year revamping the site, updating nearly 600 blogs written since 2004 with the author’s credentials, diverse high-resolution images, and more accurate and inclusive language. The site gets about 60 questions a month and posts roughly one new entry a week.
Ask a Geneticist is part of the Stanford at The Tech partnership, launched 20 years ago with the first wetlab, where the public can run an experiment with DNA. The partnership now includes the newly launched Book a Biologist, where teachers can book scientists to talk with their classes; and the ChromoZONE, a space where visitors can make a marker with DNA-infused ink or solve a mystery using genetics tools.
A family participates in the Draw with DNA activity at The Tech Interactive.
About The Tech Interactive
The Tech Interactive is a family-friendly science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose. Our hands-on activities, experimental labs and design challenge experiences empower people to innovate with creativity, curiosity and compassion. The Tech is a world leader in the creation of immersive STEAM education resources to develop the next generation of problem-solvers locally, nationally and globally. We believe that everyone is born an innovator who can change the world for the better.
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