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Big Picture Science

Hered­i­ty was once thought to be straight­for­ward. Genes were passed in an immutable path from par­ents to you, and you were stuck – or blessed – with what you got. DNA didn’t change. 

But now we know that’s not true. Epi­ge­net­ic fac­tors, such as your envi­ron­ment and your lifestyle, con­trol how your genes are expressed. Mean­while, the pow­er­ful tool CRISPR allows us to tin­ker with the genes them­selves. DNA is no longer destiny.

Hear the results from the NASA twin study and what hap­pened to astro­naut Scott Kelly’s DNA after a year on the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. Plus, whether there’s evi­dence that epi­ge­net­ic changes can be passed down. And, if we can wipe out dead­ly malar­ia by engi­neer­ing the mos­qui­to genome for steril­i­ty, should we do it?