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Ask a Geneticist

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Do you have a burning question about genetics that’s been keeping you up at night? Ever wonder why the combination of red hair and brown eyes is so rare? There are two great resources currently available online for anyone who is curious about genetics.

AsktheGeneticist is a partnership between the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University and the Department of Genetics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The mission of AsktheGeneticist “is to answer questions about genetic concepts, and the etiology, treatment, research, testing, and predisposition to genetic disorders.” AsktheGeneticist has a genetic genealogy section, but it’s pretty sparse.

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California has partnered with the Department of Genetics at Stanford University to present “Genetics: Technology with a Twist.” The interactive site has an ‘Ask The Geneticist’ section where you can ask a Stanford geneticist a question.

The site also has an interactive eye calculator you can use to predict the color of your child’s eyes (for fun, of course). For example, both my wife and I have brown eyes, but both our mothers have blue eyes. According to the calculator (which takes other factors into account), our child had a 75% chance of have brown eyes, 10.9% green, and 14.0% blue. Note that these percentages suggest that he might have had a 0.1% chance of no eye color (just kidding, of course!). Our son, against the odds, has blue eyes.

Although these websites could be both entertaining and a great source of information, I don’t recommend their use for the diagnosis or treatment of any type of genetic disorder.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

16 Comments

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  3. Hi,

    I want to know how Amy’s relation title to Ervan, and Joy’s relation Title to Ervan.

    - Amy & Joy’s moms are sisters, so Amy and Joy are cousins.
    - Joy’s father’s mother’s brother’s daughter’s marries Ervan’s mom’s brother, so they have a child named Alex.
    - So Joy shares the same great-grandparents with Alex.
    - So Basically, Joy’s grandma on her dad’s side is distantly related to Ervan.
    - Based on these connections, what is Amy’s relation title to Ervan, and if they are related at all.
    - What is Joy’s relation title to Ervan and are they relatives?

    Thanks,

    Amy

  4. Hi,

    I want to know how Amy’s relation title to Ervan, and Joy’s relation Title to Ervan.

    - Amy & Joy’s moms are sisters, so Amy and Joy are cousins.
    - Joy’s father’s mother’s brother’s daughter’s marries Ervan’s mom’s brother, so they have a child named Alex.
    - So Joy shares the same great-grandparents with Alex.
    - So Basically, Joy’s grandma on her dad’s side is distantly related to Ervan.
    - Based on these connections, what is Amy’s relation title to Ervan, and if they are related at all.
    - What is Joy’s relation title to Ervan and are they relatives?

    Thanks,

    Amy

  5. My daughter was diagnosed at 22 months with infantile autism. At 18 months old she regressed. She lost speech, social interaction, and started these very odd repetitive behaviors. Her pediatrician ordered a battery of tests and the tests came back with high levels of beta alanine and other elevated amino acids. We just saw a genetics specialist and they have since diagnosed her with hyper beta-alaninemia. My problem is I have no clue about this disorder and we are trying to get some basic information. Is this disorder a urea cycle disorder? We have tried to goggle the diagnosis but nothing specific pops up.

  6. Dear Sir / Madam,

    Would you kindly advise me if a FISH test for Angelman’s Syndrome shows both the maternal and paternal copies of chromsome 15?

    Or does the FISH test only show the deletions or microdletions in the maternal copy of chromosome 15?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Kind regards,

    Chris Wakeman.

  7. Dear Sir / Madam,

    Would you kindly reply to this general enquiry.

    If a patient has been diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome with the mechanism parental uniparental disomy at 14 years of age, what would be the clinical features of this patient, for example, would the patient be able to:

    1. Talk or sign language.
    2. Walk by themselves
    3. Dress themselves.
    4. Feed themselves.
    5. Toilet themselves.
    6. Assist with household chores, etc.

    If a patient has been diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome with the mechanism the maternal deletion, what would be the clinical features of this patient. And do all these patients with both these mechanisms have forward progression no loss of skills. And are they able to use their hands.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Kind regards.

    Lance Alder.

  8. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I had CVS on March 23 and received the result the next day. Is it possible to get the complete result in just one day, or is it more likely it’s just the preliminary result? The clinic is claiming this is the final definite result and that all chromosomes have been checked and not just the ones with most commonly occuring abnormalities. I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me if it’s possible to check for all chromosomal abnormalities in just one day. Thank you very much.

    Kind regards,

    Vesna

    PS They told me all 46 chromosomes are normal XY.

  9. Hi I would like to know whether a mother of two kids who has lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (I have these two diseases after e birth of my first child) will pass on to my kids? I hesitate in having my third kid as I am 38 years old. Pls advise.

  10. I have a question about hair color. My husband and I are Chinese. We
    have two children. My daughter’s hair color is
    dark brown or black…like us. My son’s hair color is light yellow
    (classic caucasian hair color). Except the hair color…my son is a
    healthy & well grows kid. We wonder why his hair color is light
    yellow. We talked to our pediatric doctor. He is not sure why…

    My questions are…

    1) Does anyone else have the same issue?
    2) Does anyone know the answer?
    3) What type of specialist should I see…Geneticist?

    I really appreciate your help.

  11. how can my son who is 0+ and his girlfriend who is also 0+, have a baby with A+ blood type? Should i be talking to my son about dna testing?

  12. germline mutation for marfan syndrome. I have a question, I have one daughter diagnosed with marfan syndrome. Her father is deceased (unrelated to marfan) and cannot be tested. I do not have the gene mutation by lab work. She has a half sister who has a DNA panel pending due to some of the systemic criteria, but not enough for diagnsois. So we are thinking possibly germline mutation. Is it possible for a germline mutation to be spontaneous like that?

  13. My son was diagnosed at 18 years old with Crohn’s disease. It may be related to taking Accutaine. Since Crohns is usually hereditary I want to know if he will pass this to his children if he decides to have any.

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