Gene Speak – The Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

Erin Loury

by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab

All you science educators out there, get your browsers ready!  The National Institutes of Health have unleashed a learning tool so powerful, it actually speaks:

Introducing the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms!

If a talking glossary could take over the world, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing – at least we’d have one gene-savvy populace.

What sets this site apart from your workaday genetic glossaries is the use of audio snippets from medical and science-y people.   And no, they don’t just reiterate the definition that you can read yourself  like some kind of brain-numbing driver’s ed – they are actually pretty engaging!  Hearing Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH director, discuss genetic discrimination makes me feel like I’m eavesdropping on a cocktail party of the white-coated elite  (probably the closest I will ever get to doing so…).

Some of the words also come with an illustration or nifty 3D animation (type in “gene” to see an example).  And if you click the button that says “Test your gene knowledge,” you can choose  a quiz containing genetic terms you may hear in the classroom or in the news.

Best of all, in this ichthyologist’s humble opinion, is the link to the aquatic world. The one entry listed under “Z”?  Zebrafish.

This site is the newest addition to our Teacher’s Corner page, prompting the creation of a “genetics” subheading. Check it out!

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