For his book Putting the Science in Fiction, out this October, geneticist Dan Koboldt runs through common science misconceptions that appear in movies and TV shows. His aim: help screenwriters write more accurately about fields like biology, physics and engineering.
Koboldt watched an episode of CBS show CSI that involved taking a DNA sample and predicting what a person will look like. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.)
You can't do that in real life. "As a geneticist, we could probably tell you with some certainty -- just as 23andMe Ancestry could tell you -- what the likely ancestry is of the DNA sample," Koboldt says.
"But it would be very difficult to predict their exact appearance based on that, because a lot of these are very complex traits."
"Miracle details" in shows like NCIS, Bones and Arrow involve using technology to capture the license plate number off a car as it drives away, identify a face that's a perfect match to the criminal being hunted, and create a perfect image out of the blurred reflection in a window.