Explore the building blocks of life and watch fuzzy new lives emerge.

The secret of life is just four letters long, the symbols of chemical components in DNA connecting all living things. The more we understand and alter these building blocks, the more answers we find … and the more questions we raise. Explore your genetic roots in an exhibit teeming with life—where a new one might break out of its shell at any moment.

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Little Things Mean Everything

Discover how the tiniest genetic variations define traits that make us distinct from animals and each other. Frogs with glowing eyes, mutated fruit flies and cloned mice are just a few ways you'll see genetic engineering up close. Polls and interactive scenarios let you weigh issues of ethics and privacy. Enjoy one of the Museum's most beloved experiences: watching as baby chicks peck out of their shells and take first steps into the world.

For perspective, you only have about 11,000
more genes than the worms in the exhibit.
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Reconnect with the nature of life as you consider the complexities of trying to engineer it.

Since the Museum's first baby chick hatched in 1954, the science of genetics has transformed. Just as the Hatchery now helps preserve rare chicken breeds, genetic engineering helps to improve human lives. But not without raising questions. How much should anyone—even you—know about your genetic identity? What would you do if your genes reveal potential issues? Genetics: Decoding Life shows how the heart and mind must also be keys to unlocking the genetic code.