Common Misconceptions in Genetics

By The News Voice

There are a many common misconceptions when it comes to genetics, heredity, traits, and genetic testing. Here are few of them.


Genes are typically not the only determinants of traits most traits are influenced both by genes and the environment in which we live. We do not inherit a disease, instead we inherit sensitive factors that increase risk for a disease

Not all mutations are harmful. A mutation is a change in the genetic code of an organism. Many mutations are harmful and cause the organism not to develop properly. However, many mutations are silent and some prove beneficial.


Multiple genes, not just a single gene, determine most traits in humans such as height, eye color, and skin color. When a trait is controlled by more than one gene it is called polygenic.


Describing a trait as dominant does not mean it is the most common or most common trait found in population; it means that it is expressed over the recessive trait.


Once a mutation has occurred in the genome, it cannot be “fixed” contradictory to what people believe. Because we do not currently have the technology to fix an error in DNA, after identifying a disease causing mutation we must then discover a drug or other intervention that will counteract the malfunctioning gene.

Even though there are many genetic tests available on the market today, not all are equally reliable and precise. Advances in sequencing technology mean genetic testing has become widespread and easily available, in some cases without the involvement of a medical professional.


All food crops, whether genetically modified or not, have genes. Just like humans, plants have DNA, which determines which phenotypes will be expressed based on the genotypes of the plant.


Genetics terms are often confused and has been misinterpreted over time.   Follow The News Voice for more such stories. 

The Scientist