Fermilab LInC Online

Genetics, Genomics, and Genethics

Sample Projects


Genetically Modified Food

"George Washington Carver has probably rolled over in his grave!", exclaimed Juanita Cash as she reviewed the list of commodity foods available for use at Meadowview Elementary School. "No peanut butter!" No peanut butter/jelly sandwiches, no peanut butter cookies, and no GORP for the kindergarten snacks. "So many children with peanut allergies-- what's a lunchroom manager to do?"

As an up and coming research scientist, with a first grader at Meadowview Elementary School, what can you do to ease Juanita's angst? Research and develop a protocol to genetically modify a variety of peanut which will not trigger allergic reactions in children. How will you do this? What kind of genes are available to be used to produce this product which will bring joy to lunchrooms and airline customers across America? Be precise in your protocols. Show all steps and methods proposed to use.


Janice and David have anxiously awaited the day their son, Sean, will turn himself over in the crib and prepare to creep. That day just doesn't come quickly enough for them. Unexpectedly, one afternoon Sean develops a deep cough with no upper respiratory symptoms. Janice takes him to his physician for treatment and the doctor suggests a panel of tests screening for diseases. Sean is eventually diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. A new treatment may be available for use. A protein enhanced pulmonary surfactant is being tested in rats. How will this surfactant help Sean? How can a protein make a difference in Sean's lungs? Could it work for life? How? If you were a researcher in the drug company manufacturing the surfactant, what research protocols would you propose for development and testing? Be specific in developing the protocols and justifications of actions taken. How would your product affect the overall life expectancy of Sean? What is theexact mechanism for the cure?


Tawanna had the sad but inevitable duty of making the funeral arrangements for her grandmother, Ruth who died at the age of 94. Ruth was the mother to 14 children raised in rural Georgia. Tawanna was always curious about her heritage since she did not resemble any of her contemporary family, certainlynot in Detroit, but she looked a lot like the old yellowed picture of a great aunt, Sally. Sally died from breast cancer at the age of 42. Tawanna has recently seen her physician for a tumor on an ovary. The funeral directorhas offered Tawanna a home/self-storage kit to harvest Ruth's DNA before she is buried. Does Tawanna keep Ruth's DNA or does the funeral home keep a sample for future refernce? What is Ruth's right to privacy? What is Tawanna's right to know her future?


First Thoughts

Getting Started

Forming Working

Working Group


Web Resources

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab , and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

uthor: Deborah Engel-DiMauro (engel@woodrow.org
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation-- Princeton, NJ
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: April 18, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/genethics/examples.html