2017 PA DNA Day Modules
High school teachers in the Lehigh Valley who participate have the choice of one of the following three modules, presented to their class by our scientist ambassador volunteers:
Students may know that our DNA sequence can become damaged due to genetic or environmental factors, and this can lead to disease including many forms of cancer. This module explores several built-in protection mechanisms our bodies use to prevent and repair damage to DNA. In 2015, Dr. Aziz Sancar from UNC Chapel Hill and Dr. Paul Modrich from Duke University were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on understanding DNA repair. Students will extract their own DNA from saliva and analyze REAL data from Dr. Sancar’s Nobel-winning research.
In this module, students will learn about the concept of ‘personalized’ medicine; how differences in our genes affect whether a drug treatment will be successful or have serious side effects, and how we can use this information to customize treatments for individual patients. Students will participate in a hands-on activity to further demonstrate how subtle genetic differences affect a patient’s response to medication.
In the forensics module, students learn how DNA is analyzed by forensic scientists in order to link a DNA sample to a particular individual. To do this, forensic scientists use powerful molecular biology techniques such as PCR, restriction digests and gel electrophoresis. To learn more about DNA and how it is used by forensic scientists, students will isolate their own DNA from saliva! Using their new-found understanding of DNA and forensics techniques, students will help solve the case of the missing mascot. Whodunit?
Click here to access module resources and further descriptions of the presentations/activities.