““If everyone on both sides of your family is tall, you are going to be tall. If half are tall and half are short, you have a 50//50 chance of being either tall or short. You also have the possibility of ending up somewhere in the middle.”” Confused? Apparently, so was this high school student. How did he develop such a muddled understanding of inheritance? Probably by attending class, reading his textbook, and doing his homework. His confusion, which was representative of many students who submitted essays to a national DNA Day essay contest, is quite common. In fact, in an analysis of 500 randomly selected essays by The American Society of Human Genetics (Shaw et al., 2008), 55%% of essays contained at least one misconception in genetics, and 20%% had two or more.

The most common misconceptions dealt with patterns of inheritance (clearly reflected in the quote...

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