|Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Section
DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee
130. The Science and Issues of Human DNA Polymorphisms: An ELSI Training Program for High School Biology Teachers
David Micklos, Matt Christensen, and Scott Bronson
DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
We have implemented a nationwide training program to introduce high school biology teachers to the key uses and societal implications of human DNA polymorphisms. The 2.5-day program targets an audience of highly professional faculty who have already implemented hands-on labs in molecular genetics, many of whom offer laboratory electives in biotechnology. The 10 workshops conducted to date have involved a total of 231 high school faculty at workshops held in eight states -- 15% over the projected registration of 200 participants.
Program participants learn simplified lab techniques for amplifying two types of chromosomal polymorphisms: an Alu insertion and a VNTR. These polymorphisms illustrate the use of DNA variations in disease diagnosis, forensic biology, and identity testing -- and provide a starting point for discussing the uses and potential abuses of genetic technology. Participants submit their Alu insertion data to the Student Allele Database at the DNALC's WWW site. This elegant and easy-to-use interface allows students to test Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, compare world populations, and test theories of human evolution.
We have also introduced a Sequencing Service to generate control region sequence from mt DNA samples submitted from biology classes around the country. Workshop participants amplified the mt control region from DNA prepared from their hair roots or cheek cells, and the amplicons were returned to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for cycle sequencing. The completed sequences were then posted at the DNA Sequence Server, a powerful database application that allows students to analyze their own mt DNA sequences -- including similarity searches and multiple sequence alignments. We have replicated the process with student mt samples submitted by mail, and our database currently contains 850 teacher and student mt sequences, which can be reached at the DNA Sequence Server site.
|The online presentation of this publication is a special feature of the Human Genome Project Information Web site.|