Both books are part of 23andMe's broader commitment to genetics education that started with its founding and, over the last decade, has included an educational video series with Khan Academy, crowdsourced curriculum for high school and college level science classes, webinars, speaking events, outreach activities, student contests, and even contributions to a traveling museum exhibit developed by the Smithsonian and National Institutes of Health. More recently, the company established an Education Grant Program to inspire educators to create an interactive learning experience for students by integrating personal genetics into their curriculum.
"Making genetics education fun and accessible has been core to our mission since we launched in 2006," said Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe's co-founder and CEO. "The mapping of the human genome is the most exciting scientific discovery of our lifetime, but to truly benefit from it we each need to better understand the basics of genetics. We know that there is a lot of work to do to improve genetic literacy and 23andMe will continue our commitment to science education at all levels."
The children's book series is just one measure of that commitment. The book, The One and Only Me, is intended for elementary school readers at the third to fifth grade levels, and it teaches about inheritance, a concept which is part of the Next Generation Science Standards. In the colorful pages of the book, readers follow the young red headed, blue-eyed protagonist, Poppy, as she traces her family tree and the traits that were passed on to her in her DNA. Illustrator Ariana, who also was instrumental in helping create 23andMe's Genetics 101 videos, said she was motivated in part by the lack of these kinds of books for kids.
"I am a huge fan of the nonfiction picture book as a way of engaging kids in science. Illustration, when paired with clear, concise text, is such a powerful tool for communicating complex information to any audience," Ariana said.
This approach, distilling important scientifically sound information in an engaging and entertaining way, is also at the core of what 23andMe strives for in its offerings to customers, students and educators alike. The 23andMe Education Program brings that ethos into the classroom and is central to the company's mission to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. Truly empowering people with genetics knowledge starts in the classroom. Teachers can find supporting resources for teaching inheritance and other genetics concepts addressed by The One and Only Me at www.23andme.com/education.
While both The One and Only Me and You Share Genes with Me are available for purchase on Amazon.com, educators can request a complimentary copy by joining the 23andMe Education Community and sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company. Founded in 2006, the mission of the company is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has more than one million customers worldwide, with over 80 percent consented to participate in research. 23andMe, Inc. is located in Mountain View, CA. More information is available at www.23andMe.com.
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