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Significant Sequences: Genomics Activities for Advanced Biology Students
Significant Sequences, developed by Washington University’s Science Outreach Program and written by faculty and high school teachers, is a publication that focuses on the importance of genomic data and how the data are discovered and used. After students are introduced to the basics of genomics and model organisms, they learn the science of sequencing genomic data through a series of paper modeling activities, such as a Paper PCR (polymerase chain reaction) project. Students compare human, chimpanzee, and mouse genomes and also compare differences in genomic information between individual humans. By using a simulated microarray to transcribe DNA sequences, students learn about mutations from normal to cancerous tissue. Other activities examine ethical issues inherent in gathering and publishing genome sequences. For example, one lesson explores the significance of easy access to personal genetic information. Templates for the activities are included. The online publication is free, but users must register to gain access to it.
Program Director: Kathryn Gail Miller, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: Washington University is a private research university in Saint Louis, Missouri. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- New and enhanced science courses to provide opportunities for students to more actively engage in the research process within lecture and laboratory courses that investigate real research problems;
- A summer undergraduate research fellowships program that gives students opportunities to work in University faculty labs;
- Training programs for K-8 teachers in various science topics and a summer research internship program for high school teachers;
- Web-based tutorials that are rich in interdisciplinary applications; and
- Partnerships with high school teachers that created a widely used textbook, Modern Genetics for All Students, and, more recently, curricular supplements for agricultural biotechnology and genomics.