Can a Card Game Stealthily Teach People Genetics?


Genius Games

High school biology class. You’re sitting in the back of the room. A ladder-like strip is drawn sideways across the whiteboard. There’s a strange blob seemingly tearing up the ladder from within and a comb-shaped strand sticking out beneath the blob. While looking at your phone and flicking from one social media channel to the next, you intermittently wonder: Is the ladder supposed to be attacking the comb? Looks like an alien or something. Maybe it’s eating the comb. Actually, you’re kind of hungry. Wonder how long till lunch…

Maybe this standard lesson on DNA transcription made perfect sense at the time and has stuck with you ever since. Maybe you understood it come college or grad school. Or maybe, if you were the dreamer in the back of biology

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus11 min readPsychology
The Cultural Distances Between Us: Mapping the world’s psychological traits.
If you ask Siri to show you the weirdest people in the world, what images might you see? In fact, none. Siri showed me different links to the same scientific paper, published a decade ago, with the questioning title, “The weirdest people in the world
Nautilus4 min read
Color-Changing Material Unites the Math and Physics of Knots
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. One sunny day in the summer of 2019, Mathias Kolle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, took a couple of eminent colleagues out sailing. They talked about their
Nautilus9 min readScience
The Hidden Warning of Fall Colors: Did autumn reds and yellows evolve to repel insects?
Drifting above North America in the autumn of 2014, a NASA satellite named Terra partook in some high-altitude leaf peeping. In an aerial photograph snapped that September, swaths of orange and red saturate the green landscape, as if igniting the pla