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Genetic Disease Webquest

Putting DNA to Work

Studying the human genome has led to some amazing developments in recent years. Recent discoveries about how genes contribute to common diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are changing the way medicine is practiced and driving discovery of new types of drugs and treatments.These discoveries promise to continue well into the future. Much of the early progress in this field came from studying genetic diseases that resulted from the presence or absence of a single gene

This webquest allows students to gain a solid understanding of how DNA works and discover firsthand how scientists and public health officials identify, test for, and treat genetic diseases. Students play various roles in a medical investigation team as they try to determine why a group of children in a remote village are becoming ill. Students take on the role of DNA scientist, epidemiologist, disease specialist, or genetic counselor as they learn about DNA structure and function, basic genetics and heredity, treatment options, and disease epidemiology. Upon completion of their individual tasks, the team of students must then work together to present their findings and make recommendations that address the situation. The activity was designed in conjunction with the 2006 National DNA Day Celebration, which was hosted with the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

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