Below is a small sampling of work from the great undergraduate students in my Honors Human Genetics class at Penn State (Anthropology/ Biology 460H). For extra credit, the assignment is to compose/ create/ perform something artistic (any form of expression!) about human genetics or an aspect of human genetics, while integrating key concepts from our course.

Fall 2015

Vivanne Mazzocco

"Racial and gender discriminations exist in virtually all social contexts. Academia and scientific research are no exceptions. In genomic testing, there is a consistent sampling bias, as the majority of studies are suited to benefit the understanding of European phenotypic traits and medical conditions. This inequity is catalyzed by fewer people of color in leading research positions, socioeconomic restraints and limited access to genetic testing, and prolonging racial favoritism. For my extra credit assignment, I chose to reflect not only how our individual genome works to produce a successful phenotype through the collaboration of many genes and environmental factors, but also the discrimination evident in genomic analysis. In the male and female portraits, their skin, hair, and facial features are constructed by individual gene names responsible for some facial and pigmentation elements. Influential environmental aspects that impact development, such as diet, age, UV exposure, stress, etc., are also included. The black female's portrait is intentionally incomplete to mirror to voids in genetic testing caused by systematic white preference and privilege and the incomplete understanding of ancestry of people of color affected by horrific slave trading. Her environmental influences also include stress factors such as racism, sexism, and oppression."


Mary Chen

Monopoly - Human Genetics Edition


Josh Bram, Haley Randolph, & Mark Travor

"GWAS Bling" music video ('inspired' by Drake's "Hotline Bling")

Fall 2014

Annie Lin

Illustrated children's book on basic human genetics principles!

Christie Hoyte-Hayes

The field of genetics has got the key,
to what makes you much different from me.
We’ve got genes inside all our cells,
they can make us sick or keep us well.
It all starts with tiny nucleotides,
A, T, C, and G run along both sides.
Of our DNA, thats the genetic code,
that mediates all life, young and old.
From the day you’re born, 'til the day you die,
your DNA will code and change your life. 
The introns and exons, both aren’t expressed,
The latter does more, the former does less.
The genes we all have are mainly the same,
for your variation, your parents are to blame.
They pass on their alleles for different traits,
hair color, eye color, they do dictate.
A monk named Mendel, daddy of genetics,
he started his research with peas’ aesthetics.
By breeding different plants he came to find,
that shapes of the parents and the kids aligned.
Since his time, genetics came a long way,
we know even more about traits today.
There's autosomal, additive, and x-linked,
some so deadly, they make species extinct.
Autosomal aren't on sex chromosomes,
they can be additive, not from DNA alone.
The environmental effect can be crucial,
determines if the trait is mild or brutal.
The genotype is what your DNA reads,
but your phenotype is what people can see.
They're both affected by recombination,
that’s in meiosis with genes in rotation.
The result, a unique gamete is made,
a jumble of alleles from your great-greats.
Today sources can be traced, of SNPs,
their haplotype has a certain ancestry.
People to people, genes do really vary,
natural selection affects what we carry.
When a trait helps you to stay alive,
you get to have kids, who may also thrive.
Thanks to genetic drift and some gene flow,
countless mutations, they hurt or help us grow.
Life’s variations are still crazy complex,
to think people are a mere product of sex.