DNA, RNA, Genetics and Genomics

Bioinformatics-based lessons are a powerful way to guide students to a deep and comprehensive study of genetics.  The lessons in our collection span all levels of biology, from “seeing” DNA, to using gene sequences to identify and learn about genetic diseases, to analyzing PCR data in order to answer complex questions.

The Central Dogma of Biology: DNA to Protein

The Central Dogma activity provides students practice in the transcription and translation of a small segment of an actual gene in the human body.  Students then use BLASTn to identify their sequence as well as the program CN3D to view 3-D models of their protein.  The activity concludes with the connection between mutation and disease as students investigate the cond Read more about The Central Dogma of Biology: DNA to Protein

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The Power of Mitochondrial DNA: The Case of the Disappeared Children of Argentina

The Power of Mitochondrial DNA: The Case of the Disappeared Children of Argentina is a real world application of the use of mtDNA to solve a problem.  Students assume the role of scientists who work to determine paternity and maternity relationships in custody battles and incidences of abduction.  Students must help four families try to find lost infants that were given to other families after Read more about The Power of Mitochondrial DNA: The Case of the Disappeared Children of Argentina

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As easy as one, two, pee: A study of Alkaptonuria

This lesson introduces students to the Orina family.  Carlos, a member of the Orina family, has been diagnosed with a genetic disease called Alkaptonuria, which makes a person's urine turn dark black.  During this lesson, students first take on the role of a geneticist and use the OMIM database to prepare a one-page summary sheet that could be presented to the Orina family with information abo Read more about As easy as one, two, pee: A study of Alkaptonuria

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Determining Molecular Genotype from Phenotype: Real Time PCR Analysis

Students will learn about lightcyclers (real time PCR), a biotechnology used to help determine molecular genotype of blood types. They will analyze sample lightcycler outputs to determine blood type and possible molecular genotypes of humans. Read more about Determining Molecular Genotype from Phenotype: Real Time PCR Analysis

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ABO Blood Types with Chi Square Analysis

Students will read and review background information on the ABO blood groups and will practice blood type problems to ensure their understanding of multiple allele genetics.  Students will analyze blood types of the US population, make comparisons, and evaluate the significance using Chi Square analysis. Read more about ABO Blood Types with Chi Square Analysis

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Molecular Conservation & Evolutionary Relationships

Students attempt to determine how sequences are used as evolutionary tools to determine relative age of relationship of organisms. Students are given sections of DNA and amino acid sequences and asked to determine differences between them. In part 1, students work with online DNA sequences found on BLAST. In part 2, students use paper based amino acid sequences. Read more about Molecular Conservation & Evolutionary Relationships

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