Map-Ed Genetics

Check out our online interactive tool, Map-Ed. Go to and answer 5 questions about key concepts and topics in genetics to pin yourself on a world map. No expertise in genetics necessary! Questions are multiple-choice, and you will be provided with information along the way to point you toward the correct answer. Then, share with your friends and see more pins popping up in your neighborhood. To date, there are 6 Map-Ed quizzes (see list of topics below) and, thanks to our collaborators at Autodesk, each quiz has its own map. Pin them all!

Check out the interactive map below to see the pins that are there or, if you prefer, click here for the full-size map.

Map-Ed topics:

Click here to check out Map-Ed and select from the following quizzes:

  • Avoiding genetic discrimination: know your rights – 5 questions exploring civil rights protections in the United States under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
  • Ebola – 5 questions addressing key information about Ebola, its transmission, and the important work geneticists are doing on the front lines towards ending this epidemic.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – 5 questions highlighting important information about Alzheimer’s disease, the people it affects, and its links to genetics.
  • Alcohol, genetics, and you – 5 questions digging into alcohol’s effect on the body, risk factors for alcoholism, and the power of personal choice.
  • You are not alone: the microbiome – 5 questions exploring the unseen world of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live within (and on!) our bodies and broaden our perspective on what it means to be human.
  • Genetics is getting personal – 5 questions addressing key concepts in genetics that are important as individuals consider how knowledge of our DNA can improve healthcare and shape our personal and cultural identity.

New quizzes are in the works on a range of topics, including pedigrees, sickle cell trait, cancer and genetics, likelihood and risk, and epigenetics. Stay tuned!

Pinning new frontiers:

Thanks to everyone who has added their pin to our map. In particular, we would like to recognize the following individuals and institutions for bringing Map-Ed to new frontiers.

  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History took Map-Ed around the world by featuring Map-Ed as part of its exhibition, Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, which opened in 2013.
  • Andrea Loehr and her colleagues took Map-Ed to Antarctica, bringing in pins from all three United States stations – McMurdo, Palmer, and Amundsen-Scott at the South Pole. Because of their efforts, we can say that Map-Ed has reached all 7 continents.
  • Adam Steltzner, who led the NASA team that developed the sky crane landing system for the Mars Curiosity rover, took Map-Ed into space and pinning Mars after taking the quiz.
  • Rob Knight, 2014 TED speaker and a leading scientist in the microbiome field, put microscopic communities of bacteria on the map when he was the first pin on our second Map-Ed, “You Are Not Alone: The Microbiome.”
  • Rep. Louise Slaughter, author of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), led the nation as the first to enter a pin on a Map-Ed that explores GINA’s civil rights protections. Check out a video message from Rep. Slaughter here!
  • Geneticist Thomas Merritt brought Map-Ed to new depths, pinning himself on the GINA Map-Ed while on a research expedition 2 kilometers underground at the end of a mineshaft.

Map-Ed team

pgEd appreciates the contributions of everyone who helped us develop Map-Ed as well as those who have pinned themselves around the globe and beyond. We are especially grateful to Autodesk for supporting the development of enhancements to the map.

Building the platform:
pgEd created Map-Ed in response to a one-year challenge for raising awareness, issued at GETed 2012 in April 2012. We could not have brought Map-Ed to life without Dave Bozzi, Niall O’Connor, Dustin Holloway, and Mick Correll. Thanks to Niall, Dustin, and Mick, who we first met at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Computational Biology (CCCB), for developing the initial prototype for Map-Ed. We are ever so grateful to Dave Bozzi of DB Design Boston for developing the Map-Ed platform, launched less than one year later. Dave’s on-going efforts have been instrumental as we continue to improve and expand Map-Ed.

Special thanks to Carlos Olguin at Autodesk and his team, including Florencio Mazzoldi and Malte Tinnus, as well as Justin Brooks, Jonathan Holt, and Jason Landfried at SADA Systems for implementing enhancement to the map. This new map offers much better speed, the option to cluster and count pins, and the capability to filter by quiz.

Developing new quizzes:
Thanks to an energetic group of graduate students from the BBS program at Harvard Medical School, we have a number of new Map-Ed quizzes lined up. pgEd would like to recognize Benedikt Bauer, Chen Li Chew, Natalie Hendrick, Ilana Kelsey, Zecai Liang, Dominick Matos, Kristen Mengwasser, David Radke, Millie Ray, and Aswin Sekar for their inspiration and dedication to this project.

We also have a new Map-Ed quiz on likelihood and risk in the works because of the efforts of one of the working groups at GETed 2013. Thanks to Madeleine Price Ball, Jack Bateman, Samantha Baxter, Stephaine Dumont, Linda Grisham, Tommie Hata, Dustin Holloway, Johnny Kung, Aswin Sekar, Charlie Wray, and Peter Yang for making this an amazingly productive session.

We are so very grateful to all the experts who have weighed in during the development of the Map-Ed quizzes, including Lynne Bemis, Jonathan Eisen, Jim Evans, Mike Dougherty, Howard Edenberg, Cheri Hoffman, Belen Hurle, Rob Knight, Becky Nagy, Amy Niselle, Jessica L. Roberts, Pardis Sabeti, Paul Szauter, and Melissa Wu.

View the map!