A Drake's Tale: Genetics Software Gets a Lift from Gaming

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Many of us learned about dominant and recessive genes in a humdrum high school biology class. Some of us may still recognize the terms and symbols twenty or thirty years later—are your eyes bb or Bb? But, as it turns out, a very small number of traits in humans and other animals, plants, amoeba … you name it … involve the dominance mechanism of a single gene with just two alleles. (An allele is a variation of a gene, like the B or b in the above example.) The more biologists discover about the mechanisms of inheritance, the fewer traits we can point to that involve only one gene or can be illustrated using a simple Punnett square. In fact, biologists are compiling information about our genes at an astounding rate. As the process of sequencing DNA improves, the science of biology is dramatically changing.