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Simulated Search For A Disease Gene

This simulation is based on the research of Nancy Wexler and James Gusella on Huntington's disease (see Micklos and Freyer, 1991, DNA Science, pp. 148-155). Plasmid DNA is used to represent human DNA samples from a family affected by a genetic disease. RFLP analysis of the samples reveals a potential marker for the disease gene. A mutation within or near the disease gene has created a new restriction site for the restriction endonuclease Nru1, yielding 2 smaller restriction fragments on electrophoresis instead of a single larger one. The students discover that the disease phenotype is linked to the double-banded allele. They are able to use the information to describe the inheritance of the disease (autosomal, recessive) and to predict that a fetus (#52) will be unaffected by the disease. Through creative writing assignments, students explore personal and societal issues surrounding genetic testing.

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Resource Type: Teaching strategies & guidelines, Laboratory exercise
Audience Level: High school upper division 11-12

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Katharine Noonan of Oakland High School, Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Publisher: Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No


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