family tree with chromosomes

Learning About Chromosomes and Family Trees

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family tree with chromosomes
Does anyone else look at these chromosomes and see bacon?

I am taking an online course in Personalized Medicine through Vanderbilt University’s Online Learning school. While that might seem a bit outside my area of expertise, if you replace the word “drug” with diet, it perfectly lines up with my interests.

The class has been very informative. It’s designed for people who have been in the medical profession for 5+ years, though they say the interested layperson can certainly take it. That may be, but I’m glad I have been reading about genetics before I tried to tackle it. It gets pretty deep in places.

In the section we are in right now, the instructor is talking about how genetic variants can be passed from one generation to another. In the illustration above you see a classic Mendel pairing. This is a shortened variation, but in some of the examples, they are showing fairly large family trees. The fun part? This stuff immediately “clicked” for me.

Several years ago I spent a lot of time researching my genealogy. I even traveled all the way across the country to meet relatives I didn’t know. I created an extensive family tree using the Ancestry website. (If you haven’t ever tried genealogy as a hobby, I highly recommend it. It’s a great, vast puzzle and it gives you the chance to hear old family stories.) So, since I had built my own, learning about how family trees work in this course was a perfect intersection of my learning. I’ve found myself using examples from my own medical history to lock in the concepts I am learning. My sister, her husband, and their daughters are great examples of eye color dominance, for example.

I love synchronicity like this. I love when one project you are working perfectly lines up with something you have worked on in the past. It’s happening a lot lately, and I get such a kick out of it. I feel like it is the Universe’s way of letting me know I am walking down the right path.


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