Published on July 26th, 2017 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Middle Schoolers Trace their Roots at USC Genetics Summer Camp

Students from Heyward Gibbes and St. Andrews middle schools traced their families’ roots during a two-week USC Genetics and Genealogy Science Camp, one of many exciting programs offered in Richland One’s Summer SOAR program.

Prior to the start of the camp, students submitted saliva samples for DNA testing through the company 23andMe in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania. Sample results were later emailed to students’ parents or guardians.

During the camp, students performed various scientific experiments and projects which allowed them to trace their genotypes (set of genes in our DNA responsible for a particular trait) and phenotypes (inherited characteristics/physical features) from their parents and close relatives. They also compared and analyzed the impact of dominant and recessive genes on human/animal physical features.

Chris Child, a celebrity genealogist and senior genealogist of the Newbury Street Press at New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, taught students how to trace their ancestral roots using library information from

These budding scientists also monitored their physical fitness and received free MacBooks, which they used to access their saliva test results and to conduct other research. The genetics camp, which was held at Heyward Gibbes, was led by Dr. Bert Ely, USC’s director of biology labs and the Center for Science Education, and other USC staff, as well as science and fitness teachers from Heyward Gibbes.


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