Genetics, Genomes & DNA
Scientific American has this well written recipe for extracting DNA from a strawberry using things you'd find in just about any kitchen.
The post includes step-by-step instructions and observations and questions for the students to answer during the process.
This animation, part of the YourGenome site, shows the many steps and enzymes needed to make a copy of DNA in a cell. It shows how both strands of the DNA helix are unzipped and copied to produce two identical DNA molecules.
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Smithsonian Magazine looks at how scientists used 9,000 years of feline genetics to chart their global rise to power.
Researchers have used genetics to create the most extensive map ever made of cats' path to worldwide domination. They found that there were two separate waves of human-cat coexistence, with cats befriending both farmers and Vikings in their quest to spread around the globe. It also seems that over the course of this relationship, domestication happened fairly late in the game – if at all.
This website, produced by scientists at the Wellcome Genome Campus near Cambridge in the UK, contains videos and activities describing genetics and genomics. Suitable for older students, this site describes what a genome is and how scientists sequence the DNA from an organism.
You can explore what genetics can tell us about an individual and a population,and why this can sometimes throw up some tricky ethical questions and debates.
Cat domestication: From farms to sofas
Years before they conquered the Internet, cats colonized our sofas. This video summarizes the same study featured in How Cats Conquered the World.
The researchers analyzed DNA from over 200 cat remains and found that farmers in the Near East were probably the first people to successfully tame wild cats 9,000 years ago, before a second wave of cat domestication a few thousand years later in ancient Egypt.
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BioDesigns, Incorporated offers a simulation of a 4 person genetic engineering team-- a geneticist, biologist, lawyer and an economist/ethicist. Targeted to Grades 7-12, this simulation provides a testbed for practicing outcomes of research.
The Genetic Science Learning Center is a wonderful site for anything genetic and includes topics like "How to extract DNA from anything living" (using detergent, meat tenderizer, and alcohol), genetic disorders, and current events in genetics. The site explains how to build a low-cost genetics lab and publishes teaching kits.
The DNA Learning Center provides educator workshops, student research partnerships, and an index of educational, media-rich web sites.
Completed in 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health. The Publications tab includes an Educational Documents section of interest to teachers and students. For older students, this site includes resources and discussions on Ethical, Legal, and Social and privacy Issues.
This site tracks and consolidates the latest news and advances. Includes special sections for students and educators.
The National Institutes of Health has created a primer on stem cells. Topics include the biological properties of stem cells, the important questions about stem cells that are the focus of scientific research, and the potential use of stem cells in research and in treating disease.
For a deeper understanding and manipulation of mutations Look at the Molecular Workbench, developed at the Concord Consortium.
Evolution at Berkeley demonstrates evidence for evolution and the evolution of evolution.
Using a family's genetic test for Huntington's disease as a springboard, this post from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, looks at the choices your students will face as medicine increases our ability to intervene in human genetics. Makes an excellent springboard for a discussion of the topic.
BioInteractive includes videos and animations and interviews is free for learning about human evolution.
Evolution Readiness guides students towards understanding complex evolution.
K-12 students have lacked equipment,such as electronic microscopes to explore this "inside" world in their own class laboratories. Sites like these turn mere words into concepts students can learn and explore.
Other Areas To Check Out ...
• Assessment of Hands-On Elementary Science Projects
• Biology Studies Groups
• Community-based Science Projects
• Directory of Science and Technology Centers Around the World
• 3D Printing And The Arts
• Community Technology Centers And Other Resources