A new University of Pennsylvania effort is bringing RNA sequencing into high school classrooms through a free online resource

The goal is to make it easier for science teachers to incorporate the latest advances in science into their curricula.

The initiative, Discovering the Genome, was spearheaded by Kristin Field, director of programs at Penn’s Nano/Bio Interface Center, and Junhyong Kim, professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences. Working with researchers around Penn, they have produced a series of video-driven online modules that cover the fundamentals of genomics research.

“Everybody hears about genomics all the time,” says Kim. “The students should know something about it, but it’s nonexistent in high school textbooks right now.”


The website currently hosts seven course modules on topics from high-throughput DNA and RNA sequencing to cell biology to bioinformatics. More modules are still in production. Each is multifaceted, containing practice problems, discussion questions and real-world datasets on which students can perform their own analyses.

In a module on bioinformatics, for example, students are introduced via a brief video to cell biology concepts and how genetic mutations can alter cell function. Then, they are guided through the use of publicly available databases to identify genes that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

The Discovering the Genome modules are available online at https://discoveringthegenome.org/.

Source – Penn News

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