The Social Science of Genetics

by Rachel Baker on September 4, 2013

What does transplanting whole colonies of bees with other foreign colonies have to do with our genetic makeup? There’s an interesting article at about research done by entomologist Gene Robinson at the University of Illinois that attempts to answer this question.

Scientists have known for decades that genes can vary their level of activity, as if controlled by dimmer switches. Most cells in your body contain every one of your 22,000 or so genes. But in any given cell at any given time, only a tiny percentage of those genes is active, sending out chemical messages that affect the activity of the cell. This variable gene activity, called gene expression, is how your body does most of its work.

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