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Key Ideas

  • Some genetic conditions are caused by the interaction of several genes. The interaction makes predicting the condition of the offspring more difficult.
  • Chromosomal disorders leading to other genetic conditions are caused by errors that occur during the process of meiosis. Sometimes a piece of a chromosome is missing, an entire chromosome is missing, or an extra chromosome is present in the offspring.
  • Nongenetic birth defects are caused by factors that affect the maternal environment in which the fetus grows and develops.
  • Genetic counselors can help couples and families learn more about their risks for genetic diseases and help families living with a genetic disease find good medical treatments.
  • Population geneticists are concerned with variations in gene frequencies in different populations of people around the world.

Overview

Using examples of human genetic conditions, students differentiate between multiple gene disorders and those caused by chromosomal abnormalities. They explore the relationship between genetic predisposition to a disease and the effects of the environment on the actual expression of that disease. Students explore how a genetic counseling team of geneticists and medical specialists identify genetic diseases. They learn how these teams offer support and information to families on options for treatment and ways of living with these kinds of conditions. Students learn that population geneticists study variations in gene frequencies in populations around the world. Finally, each student selects a chromosome to study and contacts the Human Genome Project to perform research on information known about a gene on that chromosome. This research provides a bridge to Section 9, where the Human Genome Project is discussed in more detail.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark distinguish between multiple gene disorders and chromosomal disorders.

\checkmark explain how environmental factors can cause birth defects.

\checkmark discuss the purpose and methods of genetic counseling.

\checkmark identify the research focus of a population geneticist.

\checkmark contact the Human Genome Project and perform research on a specific gene.

Vocabulary

genetic counseling, population geneticists

Student Materials

Activity 8-1: Investigating the Human Genome Project

  • Human Genome Project addresses
  • Computer with Internet connection; or letter paper, envelope, and stamp
  • Presentation materials

Teacher Materials

Activity 8-1: Investigating the Human Genome Project

  • Human Genome materials: Map of the Human Genome
  • Other free materials available upon request
  • “Maps to Medicine” (Optional)
  • “To Know Ourselves” (Optional)

Advance Preparation

See Activity 8-1 in the student edition,

Activity 8-1: Investigating the Human Genome Project

  • Plan early to arrange for a guest speaker such as a scientist, geneticist, medical geneticist, or genetics educational outreach speaker from the Human Genome Project or March of Dimes.
  • Ask for help from your school or community resource center to begin gathering information about the Human Genome Project and genetic diseases.
  • Contact your local March of Dimes organization to explore available education information about genetic diseases. Their telephone number should be listed in your local telephone book. This can also be done by phone (1-888-MODIMES or 1-888-663-4637), or by using a search engine and entering a search for March of Dimes. Following are two examples of March of Dimes Web sites.
resourcecenter@modimes.org
modimes.org/ pub/genetics.htm
  • Consider your local hospital and university resources for enhancing student career information about opportunities in genetics and human medicine.
  • Optional: Request free copies of “The Genome Project: Maps to Medicine” (NIH Publication No. 96-3897) and/or a video about the Human Genome Project through the following address or phone number:
Office of Communications
National Center for Human Genome Research
National Institutes of Health
Building 31
Room 4BO9
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 29892
Telephone number: 301-402-0911
  • Optional: Request free copies of “To Know Ourselves” an informative and well illustrated publication from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Human Genome Project by contacting:
DOE Human Genome Project
Department of Energy
19901 Germantown Road ER-72
Germantown, Maryland, 20874
  • Genome information Internet Web sites include, but are not limited to the following:

DOE sites

http://www.er.doe.gov/production/ober/hug_top.html

http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/Human_Genome/home.html

http://www.ornl.gov/hgmis/links.html

NIH site: National Human Genome Research Institute

http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/

Interdisciplinary Connections

Art Draw a chromosome map on a large poster. Mark and label the genes which have been identified by Human Genome Project to date.

Math Research funding sources for the Human Genome Project.

Compare the cost of the Human Genome Project with other large-scale scientifically based projects such as parts of the space program.

Social Studies Investigate how information generated from the Human Genome Project and the resulting genetic testing might affect health insurance programs and/or job opportunities.

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Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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