DNA from the Beginning, released in 1999, is an animated primer of 75 experiments that made modern genetics, and was funded by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. DNAftB's timeless content has enabled it to maintain status as the DNALC's most visited educational, multimedia-rich site. Because of this, an updated, enhanced DNAftB was launched in March 2011.
The title of DNA from the Beginning (DNAFTB) can be taken as a metaphor on several levels. On a conceptual level, DNAFTB stresses DNA as the beginning of human life and health, and as the mediator of the evolution of all life. On a pedagogical level, DNAFTB builds knowledge following the historical development of genetics - from the beginning, one experiment at a time. DNAFTB is targeted at the level of a bright teenager and is intended to provide basic information that anyone would find useful in facing a "personal genetic dilemma."
DNAFTB is organized around key concepts. Forty-one concepts form the narrative backbone of the work - a Readers' Digest of genetics from Mendel to molecular cloning. Thus, the casual reader can take DNAFTB as a continuous story or work to master "a concept a day." Each concept is carefully chosen to emphasize the progressive development of genetics. Concepts are presented as pure ideas and in relatively non-scientific language. Layered behind each concept screen are multimedia elements, that allow the active learner to discover the experiments and people behind the concept.