genetics

Genetic Engineering Challenge – How can scientists develop a type of rice that could prevent vitamin A deficiency?

This activity begins with an introduction to vitamin A deficiency, rice seeds, and genetic engineering. Next, several questions challenge students to design a basic plan that could produce a genetically engineered rice plant that makes rice grains that contain pro-vitamin A. Subsequent information and questions guide students in developing an understanding of the basic techniques of genetic engineering. Students use fundamental molecular biology concepts as they think about how to solve a practical problem. This activity can be used to introduce students to genetic engineering or to reinforce basic understanding of genetic engineering. 

The attached files have the Student Handout and Teacher Notes.

Golden Rice – Evaluating the Pros and Cons

This activity engages students in evaluating the evidence and arguments related to Golden Rice and other possible strategies for preventing vitamin A deficiency. Students use this information to develop evidence-based conclusions about Golden Rice and the prevention of vitamin A deficiency. Students also develop questions that could provide important additional information for evaluating the arguments in favor of and opposed to Golden Rice and related policy proposals. In addition, students analyze how two reasonably accurate articles can present totally opposing points of view on this complex policy issue.

The attached files have the Student Handout and Teacher Notes. 

Understanding the Biology of Cancer

This discussion/worksheet activity introduces students to the molecular and cellular biology of cancer, including the important contributions of mutations in genes that code for proteins involved in regulating the rate of cell division. The questions in this activity challenge students to interpret the information presented in prose, tables and diagrams and apply their knowledge of basic molecular and cellular biology in order to understand multiple aspects of the biology of cancer, including the contributions of a variety of environmental exposures to increased risk for different types of cancer and the long lag between exposure to carcinogens and the diagnosis of cancer.

The first attached file provides the Student Handout and the second attached file provides the Teacher Notes.

Molecular Biology: Major Concepts and Learning Activities

This overview reviews key concepts and learning activities to help students understand how genes influence our traits by molecular processes.  Topics covered include basic understanding of the important roles of proteins and DNA; DNA structure, function and replication; the molecular biology of how genes influence traits, including transcription and translation; the molecular biology of mutations; and genetic engineering.  To help students understand the relevance of these molecular processes, the suggested learning activities link alleles of specific genes to human characteristics such as albinism, sickle cell anemia and muscular dystrophy. Suggested activities include hands-on laboratory and simulation activities, web-based simulations, discussion activities and a vocabulary review game.

The attached file has the overview of key concepts and learning activities, with links to the activities. 

The Molecular Biology of Mutations and Muscular Dystrophy

In this discussion/worksheet activity students explore the effects of different types of point mutations and deletion mutations and analyze the reasons why deletion mutations generally have more severe effects than point mutations.  Students use their understanding of the molecular biology of mutations to analyze the genetic basis for the differences in severity of two types of muscular dystrophy.    

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes. 

From Gene to Polypeptide -- The Roles of the Base Pairing Rules and the Genetic Code

The questions in this discussion/worksheet activity reinforce student understanding of the information flow from a gene to a polypeptide, with an emphasis on understanding the roles of the base-pairing rules and the genetic code chart.

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes. 

DNA

This discussion/worksheet activity can be used to introduce your students to DNA structure and replication or to review these topics.  The first version of the Student Handout provides a review for students who are familiar with DNA structure and replication.  The second version of the Student Handout includes explanatory material and can be used to introduce students to the double helix structure of DNA and the process of replication. You may want to use this discussion activity together with the extraction of DNA from green split peas using the instructions available at http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/labs/extraction/howto/ (see Teacher Notes available at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/sci_edu/waldron/#dna for additional advice on procedures for the extraction).

The first and second attached files have the first and second versions of the Student Handout and the third attached file has the Teacher Notes.

From Gene to Protein - Transcription and Translation

In the hands-on activity, From Gene to Protein - Transcription and Translation, students learn how a gene provides the instructions for making a protein, and how the gene for sickle cell hemoglobin results in sickle cell anemia. Simple paper models are used to help students learn the basic molecular biology of transcription and translation. This activity can be used to introduce students to these topics or to reinforce student understanding. In addition, students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different types of models included in this activity

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format

DNA

In the lab, DNA, students extract DNA from their cheek cells and relate the steps in the procedure to the characteristics of cells and DNA. Students learn about DNA structure and replication during the intervals required for the extraction procedure.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

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