BOCES Southern Westchester
Blind Brook High School
Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy joined forces in 1990 to
embark on a long-term project to decipher the overwhelming amount of information
contained in our genome. The Human
Genome Project (HGP) is proceeding much faster than previously expected, and can
provide invaluable information related to gene and cellular function, pathways
of evolution and cell differentiation. Additionally,
knowledge gained from the HGP is already providing new ways to prevent, treat
and diagnose disease.
The HGP is generally mentioned in passing in high school biology classes, despite its importance to the scientific and medical communities. This is a group research project intended to supplement a genetics or recombinant DNA unit from a high school biology class. Teachers can choose to use part or all of the topics, or divide up questions as deemed appropriate for your class. It is important that each student be given specific tasks, and grading should hold both the individual and the groups accountable for their work for whichever evaluation method is chosen.
The teacher can create a test from all of the
groups’ research. Students should
ultimately be held responsible for all of the information.
Each group can present during a poster session
mini-conference when the research is finished – all members from each group
should participate in some way to the final product.
Each group can create links for a common web page,
or links from a school web page.
Each group can make a chapter for a book, to be
bound and distributed to other younger classes.
The class as a whole can create a newsletter for
the school, with each group producing “stories” or articles about their
topic of research.
Particular hot topics can be selected and used as
the subject for a class debate.
Group Topics and Suggested Questions
What are the general goals of the HGP?
Develop a timeline showing the progress and
milestones of the project. Include
What are some of the ways the information and new
knowledge will be shared with others?
Who are the primary players in the HGP? Which
groups are the sources of major funding for the project?
How will new information from HGP be used?
Give five examples of how knowledge from HGP can be
used in beneficial ways.
What are the biggest current research topics?
How can you access the working draft sequences?
Human Genome Project informational site: www.ornl.gov/hgmis/project/about.html
A free multimedia educational kit for grades 9-12: “The Human Genome Project: Exploring Our Molecular Selves,” from the National Institute of Health
David and Freyer, Greg (1990) DNA Science: A First Course in Recombinant
DNA Technology, Cold Spring Laboratory Press and Carolina Biological
from Nature and Science: www.ornl.gov/hgmis/project/journal.html
database site: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome/seq
of Energy’s primer on molecular genetics: www.ornl.gov/hgmis/publicat/primer/intro.html
therapy primer from Channel 13: www.thirteen.org/innovation/show1/animation2.html
issues in human gene therapy: www.ornl.gov/hgmis/publicat/hgn/v10n1/16walter.html
and risks of new genetics: www.ornl.gov/hgmis/publicat/judicature/article3.html
public’s perception: www.publicagenda.org
fundamentals of gene therapy: www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/gene.html
a Genome?” A publication by Celera, www.GenomeNewsNetwork.com
data, annotation and tools, central site for public access to data: www.celera.com
to sequence information: European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI/Sanger
Santa Cruz, information on the non-redundant “working draft” of the
University, links to clone and accession maps of human genome: http://genome.wustl.edu/gsc/human/Mapping/
Baylor College of Medicine, a major genome sequencing center with data and tools: www.hgsc.bcm.tmc.edu
This activity aligns well with the following learning standards for New York:
English Language Arts:
Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression
Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
Mathematics, Science and Technology:
Standard 2: Information Systems
Standard 4: Science
Standard 5: Technology
Standard 6: Interconnectedness/common themes
Standard 7: Interdisciplinary problem solving
From the New Standards:
S2a: understanding of the cell
S2d: matter, energy and organization in living things
S4d: understanding of technology’s impact
S4e: understanding of science’s impact
S5f: works individually and in teams to collect and share ideas
S6d: acquires information through multiple sources
S7(a-e): all of scientific communication
S8d: demonstrates scientific competence through research