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Program Directory

Big Picture Science

DNA is the gold stan­dard of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Except when it’s not. In rare cas­es when a per­son has two com­plete sets of DNA, that person’s iden­ti­ty may be up in the air. Mean­while, DNA ances­try tests are prov­ing frus­trat­ing­ly vague: dish­ing up gen­er­al­i­ties about where you came from rather than any­thing spe­cif­ic. And decod­ing a genome is still rel­a­tive­ly expen­sive and time-con­sum­ing. So, while we refine our abil­i­ty to work with DNA, the search is on for a quick and easy bio­mark­er test to tell us who we are. 

In this hour: the sto­ry of chimeras – peo­ple who have two sets of DNA; a reporter whose ances­try tests revealed she is relat­ed to Napoleon and Marie Antoinette; and the eyes have it in Soma­liland, the first nation to use iris scans in an elec­tion. Find out why your iris­es may be what ulti­mate­ly dis­tin­guish­es you from the crowd.