Google Trends for Genetics, Genes, Genome, and DNA

Green: DNA; Blue: genetics, Red: genes, Yellow: genome
Click to see a larger image.*

This chart from Google Trends comparing the search and news reference volumes for the terms genetics, genes, genome, and DNA surprises me somewhat.

In the last couple of years, there doesn’t appear to have been an increase in the number of searches for terms related to genetics. In fact, there appears to be a slight decrease in searches. Does that signal a growing complacency about genetics in everyday life, a belief that it’s no longer anything special?

In contrast, the news reference volume for the term DNA has increased (while the others have stayed about the same). This is clearly a reflection of the growing use of DNA testing for solving crime.

And what countries search for these terms the most?

1. India
2. Philippines
3. Ireland
4. United States
5. New Zealand
6. Australia
7. Canada
8. United Kingdom
9. Israel
10. Switzerland

Why do two developing countries top the list for searches on genetics terms? Could it signal an up-and-coming genome revolution there? In five years, we may begin to see an explosion of genetics research and diagnostic tests coming out of these and other developing countries. It bears watching.

*A: DNA scientist Francis Crick dies at 88
Seattle Post Intelligencer – Jul 29 2004
B: CA Modifies Desktop DNA – Jan 17 2005
C: DNA Tests Free Man After 25 Years (Completely unrelated to biological DNA) – Dec 8 2005
D: Va. Governor Pardons Two Men Cleared By DNA – Dec 23 2005
E: DNA Test Confirms Guilt in 1992 Execution
North County Times – Jan 13 2006
F: Attorneys: No DNA Match in Duke Scandal
CBS News – Apr 11 2006

Idea from Jayvee

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    • Trisha

      I’m sure what that top green is for – is that for DNA? If so, its interesting that there are dips right around the end of the year – I guess people aren’t interested in science around the holidays!

      I don’t know if the trends signify an increase in complacency about genetics or not. Maybe just a general disinterest in science?

    • Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Hi, Trisha! Yes. The green is for DNA. And interesting observation about the end of the year. I guess people have better things to do around that time. I’m thinking about DNA 365 days a year. Why can’t everybody else?

      I hope people aren’t becoming less interested in science over time. What the heck has this blog been doing for the past year anyway? ;)

      Sorry…getting a bit punchy late at night.