What is genetics?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Does your reflection remind you of anyone else? Maybe you have your mother’s smile and your father’s nose – or maybe you even look a lot like one of your distant cousins.

That’s because certain things run in families, including how we look, and it’s all thanks to our genes. The genes you’ve inherited explain your resemblance to other family members, and the genes you pass on to your own children explain why they might look so much like you.

In all families, genes are passed on from parents to children. Genes are  responsible for the strong physical resemblance that occurs in some families (like the one in this photo).In all families, genes are passed on from parents to children. Genes are  responsible for the strong physical resemblance that occurs in some families (like the one in this photo).

What is genomics?

The study of individual genes is known as genetics. But what is genomics? Genomics is the study of how genes work together to make each of us who we are. Your unique genome acts as an instruction book inside of your body that tells your cells what to do. Your genome is responsible for telling your heart to beat, instructing your cells to repair themselves after an injury, and allowing your brain to learn new information.

Genomics became a field of study in 2003 when scientists mapped the first human genome through the Human Genome Project and learned just how much information is hidden in every person’s unique genome.

> Learn more about genetics, genomics & your health