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By: Cindy | February 28 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers


Rare Diseases Day LogoThis year’s theme: “Rare But Strong Together”

We’ve been thinking a lot about rare diseases in the office this year, as we wrapped up production of our latest middle school curriculum supplement, Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry. It’ll help students explore how scientists research rare diseases and treatments and learn about the workings of the human body. It’s almost ready to ship to educators, which is amazing, since it’s time again to observe Rare Disease Day!

The first Rare Disease Day took place in Europe and Canada during our last leap year, Feb. 29, 2008. Sponsored by alliances of patient groups External Web Site Policy, it was created to raise awareness about rare diseases and improve their treatment and patients’ access to treatment. Over the next four years, dozens of countries have joined in, and last year, more than 60 countries from all over the world participated.

NIH celebrates Rare Disease Day at an all- day series of talks, posters, and exhibits on the main campus in Bethesda, MD. The focus is on research supported by NIH, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Organization of Rare Disorders, and the Genetics Alliance. You can follow the events of the day on Twitter: #NIHORDR.

Wearing your favorite pair of jeans is one way to show your support for Rare Disease Day, thanks to a campaign the Global Genes ProjectExternal Web Site Policylaunched 2009. The connection? Jeans and genes are universal – as are rare diseases. More than 7,000 rare diseases affect 30 million people in the United States alone, and about three-quarters of these are children.

To request a copy of Rare Diseases or find out more about it, visit http://science.education.nih.gov/customers.nsf/MSDiseases.htm

For more information about rare diseases, see http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/AboutUs.aspx

For more about global campaigns to raise awareness and fund rare diseases resea rch, go to the Rare Project site: http://rareproject.org/ External Web Site Policy
For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and med i cal science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channel s:
By: Debbie | January 26 2012 | Category: Science Lite, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers


ASHG DNA Day Essay Contest LogoThe American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)External Web Site Policy invites you to participate in the 7th Annual DNA Day Essay Contest!External Web Site Policy The contest is open to students in grades 9-12.
 
The contest aims to challenge students to examine, question, and reflect on the important concepts of genetics. Essays are expected to contain substantive, well-reasoned arguments indicative of a depth of understanding of the concepts related to the essay questions.

Essays are read and evaluated by several independent judges through three rounds of scoring.
 
1st Place Winner:     $1,000 + teacher receives a $1,000 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
2nd Place Winner:     $600 + teacher receives a $600 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
3rd Place Winner:     $400 + teacher receives a $400 grant for laboratory genetics equipment.
Honorable Mention:     10 prizes of $100 each.

Visit the ASHG DNA Day Contest pageExternal Web Site Policy see this year's question and to learn more about the submission process.

The National Institutes of Health Office of Science Education (OSE) will be following the events leading up to DNA Day.External Web Site Policy You can follow OSE on FacebookExternal Web Site Policy and TwitterExternal Web Site Policy to follow the latest science health and medical science news of interest to teachers and students.
By: Cynthia | November 4 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) offers free mobile application.

My teenagers can’t imagine life before cell phones, while many of us wouldn’t want to. Such mobile devices are icons of the era, helping us connect with each other, manage tasks, play games, and access all sorts of information. A new application from the NHGRI, the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms, falls into that last category. It has 200+ genetic terms that you are likely to hear in the news, in a classroom, or even from your health care providers.

Listen as leading NGHRI scientists pronounce and explain each term. Included are photos and short profiles of those scientists. Many terms are accompanied by helpful, colorful illustrations and 3D animations. You can take a quiz to test your knowledge, or suggest a term to a add to the app.

Download your free app at iTunes. It is compatible with iPad, iPhone, and the iPod touch.

Check out the online version of the talking glossary. Pretty soon (by December, we hope!), you’ll be able to see how it is featured in the updated NIH Human Genetic Variation high school curriculum supplement.
By: Debbie | September 8 2011 | Category: Issues in Education, NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers


High School Student with DNA ModelA new studyExternal Web Site Policy by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)External Web Site Policy, the country’s leading genetics scientific society, found that more than 85 percent of states have genetics standards that are inadequate for preparing America’s high school students for future participation in a society and health care system that are certain to be increasingly impacted by genetics-based personalized medicine.

“Science education in the United States is based on testing and accountability standards that are developed by each state,” said Michael Dougherty, PhD, director of education at ASHG and the study’s lead author. “These standards determine the curriculum, instruction, and assessment of high school level science courses in each state, and if standards are weak, then essential genetics content may not be taught.”

According to ASHG’s study, which included all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
  • Only seven states have genetics standards that were rated as ‘adequate’ for genetic literacy (Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington).
  • Of the 19 core concepts in genetics that were deemed essential by ASHG, 14 were rated as being covered inadequately by the nation as a whole (or were absent altogether).
  • Only two states, Michigan and Delaware, had more than 14 concepts (out of 19) rated as adequate. Twenty-three states had six or fewer concepts rated as adequate.
“ASHG’s findings indicate that the vast majority of U.S. students in grade 12 may be inadequately prepared to understand fundamental genetic concepts,” said Edward McCabe, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and geneticist who is the executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado. “Healthcare is moving rapidly toward personalized medicine, which is infused with genetics. Therefore, it is essential we provide America’s youth with the conceptual toolkit that is necessary to make informed healthcare decisions, and the fact that these key concepts in genetics are not being taught in many states is extremely concerning.”

“We hope the results of ASHG’s analysis help influence educators and policy makers to improve their state’s genetics standardsExternal Web Site Policy,” said Dougherty. “Alternatively, deficient states might benefit from adopting science standards from the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, which, although not perfect, does a better job of addressing genetics concepts than most state standards that are currently in place.”

The study was published in the American Society for Cell Biology's External Web Site Policy CBE–Life Sciences Education journal – for a full-text copy of the paper, please go to: http://www.lifescied.org/content/10/3/318.full

Related NIH Resources:
By: Gloria | April 9 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers


DNA Day LogoHave you ever wanted to talk directly to the top minds in the field of genomics research? Well, get your thoughts in order and get those questions lined up because you will have the chance to chat one-on-one with experts in celebration of National DNA Day.

According to Carla Easter, Ph.D., science education specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), genomics and genetics experts will be available at the DNA Day Chatroom on Friday, April 23, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT to answer questions from students, teachers, and the general public on topics such as basic genetics research, the genetic basis of disease, and ethical questions about genetic privacy. Transcripts from previous DNA Day chatrooms are also available on the NHGRI Web site.

One of my favorite exchanges from last year was, “What would someone do after getting their undergraduate degree if they were inclined to study DNA or genetics?” Current NHGRI director, Eric Green, offered up a list of options:

  • Get a job working in a genetics laboratory.
  • Become a genetics counselor.
  • Get a Ph.D. and become a genetics researcher.
  • Get an M.D. and become a medical geneticist.
  • Become a computer scientist and help us interpret information about our genomes.

In the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, 35 NHGRI scientist ambassadors will be visiting schools through May to talk about job opportunities in genomic research. They will also help students plan their professional careers in genetics and genomics. For more information on potential careers in genomic sciences visit NHGRI's Genomic Careers Web Site.

The American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) is sponsoring a variety of events that help K-12 students, teachers, and the public learn more about how genetics and genomics affect their lives. You can visit the ASHG DNA Day pageExternal Web Site Policy for more information about ASHG-sponsored activities.

What are you doing for DNA Day this year?
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