From DNA to Disorderby: Annette Parrott

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The fact that one little letter out of three billion can really make a difference in the genetic makeup of an individual is often difficult for high school students to grasp. Molecular biology is a challenging topic to teach because students struggle with drawing connections between four-letter codes and the complex diversity of organisms that inhabit Earth. One creative way to teach students about molecular biology is with the "From DNA to Disorder" activity, which focuses on monogenetic diseases and disorders.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:16 PM

This article presents an activity called “From DNA to Disorder” which is a simulation of how scientists look for disease and learn about monogenetic disorders. The whole lesson is provided in the article as well as possible extension activities. There are also some excellent web resources provided at the end of the article. This would be a good activity for introducing microbiology.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:35 PM

This article presents a lesson on why a single point mutation can cause a genetic disorder. It does so simply and inexpensively, but does require students to have a fairly good background in chemistry to understand the point being made, so probably NOT a 9th grade introductory biology activity. I think the teacher's role in introducing the lesson could have been better explained so that enough information is provided to interest students but not so much as to take away the sense of discovery. The paper modeling activity is simple but effective and the follow up activities build on the lesson. While I have taught a lesson on genetically inherited diseases, my students did not have the background to do something like this, which is a shame, because this would be a very good way for them to see that little things may or may not have large effects and the huge role proteins play in human health.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:07 PM

This article gives an activity for students in highschool studying genes and how to look for genes that give an individual certain diseases and disorders. I remember doing activities similar to this when I was in highschool so reading and overlooking this activity was helpful to me and my remembering and understanding of the topic. Although I don’t plan to teach highschool it is an important topic to know and this article was a good refresher for me.

Brooke S
Brooke S

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