In Your DNA

Genetically Engineered HTC Touch Diamond Phone

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted November 12, 2008 in In Your DNA

Fantastic! A phone “genetically engineered for your thumbs.” I’d like one genetically engineered for my brain, please. :D

htc genetic engineering

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What’s in your DNA? #28

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted April 27, 2008 in In Your DNA

The DNA Restaurant in Old Montreal, Quebec Canada isn’t really named after the DNA we like best.

Though the name may have you conjuring up medical reports and murder trials, DNA actually stands for Derek ‘n’ Alex, Derek being Dammann, and Alex being Alex Cruz, the suave maitre d’ and resident wine expert. (The Gazette)

dna no drinkingLee at Tokyo Times reports from Japan on a collection of coasters that tell people you’re not into downing alcoholic drinks in one gulp. One of the coasters says:

I can’t drink – it’s not in my DNA.

Danielle Parsons at Am I There Yet? is challenging herself to accomplish 101 things in 1001 days:

So no more someday (which, presumably, is the day that I’ll get there). I may not be able to radically overhaul of my life, and quit procrastinating on everything that I want to do (anyone who knows me well knows procrastination is embedded in my DNA) – but I am going to do 101 things in 1001 days.



What’s in your DNA? #27

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 30, 2008 in In Your DNA

Scott Adams of The Dilbert Blog on pain leveling when the less happy person transfers some of his/her pain to the more happy one:

…I overheard a kid bragging about something that was going well for him. The other kid reflexively called him a bragger and did a few other tricks to level the pain. I think this instinct is built into our DNA.

barack obamaFrom Barack Obama’s speech on race:

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Kristina Chew at Autism Vox on her son Charlie’s autism:

I think that autism is genetic. When I consider some of the conditions or disorders (or whatever you might want to call them) in Jim’s and my own family history—-ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, various other things—-I have to say, Jim and I always figured that we’d have a child with “something,” though not necessarily with as severe of a condition as Charlie has.

Charlie and Kristina were also included in a recent Newsweek feature on autism – Mysteries and Complications.

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What’s in your DNA? #26

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 2, 2008 in In Your DNA

Dovegreyreader, a fellow member of The Sunday Salon, writes of the Jane Austen fan club:

I can’t really comment on the entire Austen oeuvre because, no, I still haven’t read them all. It is a bit like pulling teeth to sit me down with one and get me to the other end, I think I lack the right gene, the sense and sensibility chromosome.

Regarding the Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 2008/2009 women’s collection:

Color is inscribed in the genetic code of the dress. That’s why it must be able to express solidity and severity. Or, on the contrary, energy and enchantment…

Wise Elephant interviewed Tim Steele, COO of DCM:

WE: Is ambition acquired or inherent?

TS: I’ve had this conversation a number of times with successful people (and who coincidentally have usually been parents) – discussing whether or not we believed we could instill things like ambition in our children. I’ve never reached a solid conclusion.

From my perspective, I certainly had great role models – parents who believed and communicated that there was nothing one person couldn’t do (and do well) if they worked hard enough. So, did I “acquire” it from their example or did I “inherit” it in my DNA? Not sure.

Whether it’s nature or nurture, I believe it can be helped along or squelched by role models – whether or not their influence was intentional on their part. A careless word to a child who is role playing about being “silly” might be harmful to that child’s creativity. On the other hand, a manager who supports a person during failure might encourage beneficial risk taking that’s helpful to ambition.


Photo credit: Wellcome Images under Creative Commons

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What’s in your DNA? #25

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted February 10, 2008 in In Your DNA

Metrodad Pierre Kim at Karen Cheng’s Snippets of Life on buying handbags for his wife:

patent leather handbag

My overall track record of buying clothes for my wife is pretty good. However, I apparently lack the gene that gives one the ability to choose handbags. For her past birthday, I spent over a month researching Vogue magazines and scouring all the handbag sites. I was absolutely 100% convinced that she would love the bag I selected for her. Totally backfired. She hated it. Thank god for generous return policies.

Now, I’m in full training mode. My wife will show me a handbag and ask me whether she’d like it or not and I have to answer right away. It’s futile. I’m a lost cause. What is it with you women and your handbags?

India Knight of The Sunday Times (UK) thinks our genes are innocent of causing childhood obesity:

The fat kids you see waddling around aren’t fat because their genes just made them that way – they’re fat because they take very little exercise and are fed a great deal of fattening food which, to add insult to injury, contains very little that’s of any nutritional value. It’s not rocket science. Give your child sugar-laden “juice” and batter-covered chicken, chuck in industrial quantities of “food-product” stodge, dole out sweets as “treats” and raise them to be suspicious of vegetables, and voilà: you can start your own obesity epidemic. Especially if you blame their chafing thighs on their genes.

Sting at Magical Milestone reflects on her vision:

Both my parents were short sighted so I guess it’s written in my DNA. I suppose the fact that I was reading comics and story books at night under the blanket with a torchlight also contributed to it!

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What’s in your DNA? #24

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted January 20, 2008 in In Your DNA

mitt romneyMitt Romney, US presidential candidate, before the Republican primary in Michigan:

I’ve got Michigan in my DNA. I’ve got it in my heart and I’ve got cars in my bloodstream.

Outlandish Josh:

Workaholism is in my DNA (dad and his famous 90 days straight in the oilfields, mom and her neverending string of projects, etc) but this was not the way I like it; too disorganized and haphazard.

Jenny Cruise at Argh Ink:

I pretty much have snide and demeaning in my DNA and it’s very easy to slide back down that slope. I’m not proud of that. But I don’t wallow. I’m snide and demeaning and then I move on. I think that only moves me from an F to a D on the basic humanity scale but it’s a start.



What’s in your DNA? #23

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted January 6, 2008 in In Your DNA

butterButtering up Kim at Only One:

Her [grandma's] southern fried chicken was the best and she made the best fried pies – all from scratch – I well remember her draining the chicken and the fried pies on brown grocery bags across the kitchen counter. No wonder a stick of butter in almost every recipe I make…It is in my DNA…healthy eating is just no fun – although, I know that hubby and I need to make a better effort to do so.

Giving up coffee at creative leading:

Many of you chimed in here when I was looking for a new Starbucks drink and a few of you even suggested leaving the coffee behind for tea or hot chocolate. Well, I may have to go that direction. Health wise, this is probably a good thing, but I’m from Seattle…this is in my DNA!

TMC at Return to Rural ponders her hippie nature:

…my friends have intuited that this “hippie” nature is in my DNA; even when I make an effort to primp and wear clothes with shape and buttons, my bohemian spirit still shines.

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What’s in your DNA? #22

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 16, 2007 in In Your DNA

Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! beat me to the punch this week when he probed corporate DNA.

The question posed is this: what do companies asking this really mean, or more specifically what might it mean that they don’t intend (very Dilbert-esque). Presumably they are trying to make a statement about deeply embedded values, but what does it really mean to have something in your DNA?

vortexdna-logoSpeaking of corporate DNA, VortexDNA provides “core infrastructure technology” that protects your privacy during Web searches and helps to create a more personalized Web experience (whatever that means). Interestingly, their blogger, Kaila, even uses 23andMe vs. Epigenetics as examples.

This science has profound implications for the offerings of 23andMe and similar companies, and it takes the question of human empowerment and freedom to another level altogether. The people doing gene-sequencing say that you are empowered to run around trying to prevent diseases you may never have gotten. VortexDNA and epigenetics say you are empowered to live exactly the life you want, with no limitations.

Layla at Beneath Skin Deep has got a bunch of stuff in her DNA:

It’s in my DNA that I worry. It’s in my DNA that I have thunder thighs. It’s in my DNA that I love to whine.

Truth be told there ain’t no truth in the first 3 sentences of this blog entry. Don’t give me that look but it’s probably in my DNA to be so melodramatic as well and random and all the weird things that I do.

*bolded emphasis added

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What’s in your DNA? #21

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 9, 2007 in In Your DNA

gifts 05A discussion of Christmas gifts at’s The Juggle shows that gift certificates are the way to go:

My dad, who could afford to eat out every night, still considers a shrimp cocktail at Legal’s Seafoods the ultimate treat, so gift certificates there allow him to indulge without his puritan scrimp and save gene kicking up a fuss.

Cool Mom Picks finds the perfect baby clothes for your little geniuses:

We parents often have no problem sticking our kids in clothes that proclaim cutie or sweetie-pie or (gak) future model. But when it comes to proclaiming their obvious genetically-determined intellectual superiority , for some reason we stop short.

No longer.

Jayne at NYC Moms reminisces about her pregnancy with her second child, a boy:

“Your brother was wonderful. And not hyper at all,” she said. “In fact, in kindergarten his teacher told me he was the peacemaker in his classroom.” I might give birth to Gandhi! It’s in my DNA!

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What’s in your DNA? #20

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 2, 2007 in In Your DNA

Susan Conant on dog DNA (only I’m not so sure if she’s writing about herself or her dog?!):

I am half tempted to mail off my own cheek swabs and blood samples, but I am so sure of what’s inscribed in my DNA that I won’t bother. I am Scottish, English, and Alaskan malamute and much too Scottish to throw away good money finding out what I already know.


Lizard Queen on her DNA with respect to being adopted:

So that realization is what makes 23andMe look so appealing to me. I heard of it on Wire Science this past Wednesday. And even though, like the Hubby, images of Gattaca passed through my mind, for a person whose family health history is found only in herself, knowing what my DNA says about me is valuable knowledge indeed. This is particularly important, now that I’ve spawned and all.

Jamie at Starshyne Productions:

Stepping up and leading something is just in my DNA. At home I created games, performances, businesses when I was a kid. When I was older, I became involved in leadership activities at school. When I’m involved in something I generally have a strong response and get personally invested in what’s at stake. If I don’t, I generally don’t see the need to participate.

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