|Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Section
DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee
129. High School Students as Partners in Sequencing the Human Genome
Kristi Sanford, Maureen Munn, and Leroy Hood
Department of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-2145
Through the generous support of the Department of Energy since March 1994, we have developed a unique program that encourages high school students to think constructively about the scientific and ethical issues of genomic research by enabling them to participate in both. High school biology teachers from around Washington State and throughout the USA attend a one-week summer institute at the University of Washington to learn about the process and applications of DNA sequencing. Throughout the school year, local teachers are provided with the equipment and supplies necessary to carry out the sequencing experiment. Distant teachers are provided with DNA templates and primers, but they need to obtain the equipment and supplies independently.
Students are currently using manual or automated approaches to sequence the b2 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, as part of an authentic research project focused on understanding the genetic basis of nicotine addiction. Some of the activities, such as a DNA assembly and BLAST search, are accessed through the project web site. Students also learn to apply an ethical decision making process to resolve a complex topic based on presymptomatic genetic testing. Through discussions with scientist mentors who assist during classroom experiments, students learn about many career options in science. The program is used in general and advanced biology, as well as vocational biotechnology classrooms.
We have trained 74 teachers through one-week summer institutes and 160 teachers through one-day workshops. Since 1993, a total of 8400 students have participated in the DNA sequencing experiment as part of this program. We have found that teachers are much more likely to integrate this program into their classroom activities if they are eligible to borrow the HSHGP equipment kits. For this reason, we will channel our dissemination efforts through partnerships with several outreach programs throughout the nation.
This work is sponsored by the US Department of Energy under grant No. DE-FG03-98ER62547/AM01.
|The online presentation of this publication is a special feature of the Human Genome Project Information Web site.|