Fermilab LInC Online

Genetics, Genomics, and Genethics



Educational alert . . .

Students all over the world are developing a new curiosity about science, as they hear murmurings about a "Genetic Revolution."  At their lockers, in the cafeteria,  even in classrooms, students are talking about what this news really means and how it might affect them.  Here is a sampling of the questions and comments heard in middle and high schools across the country.

Genetic analysis can tell me if I am going to get cancer.

Medicines can be tailored to fit a particular person's disease.

Gene-therapy can cure a person of a disorder.

Why can't they clone my cousin who was killed in an accident last year?

I know a couple who wants kids, but can't have them. Can cloning help?

I  heard that some guy upstate wants to use tissue from his late son as a source of future organ transplants for his family.

Can doctors use cloning to produce new kidneys for my grandmother?

Cloning will stop the course of human evolution.

Will my genetic records be available to college admissions officers?

Genetic engineering is a risky experiment that may have vast environmental repercussions.

Genetic engineering allows for the patenting of life.

Genetic engineering will create a "biological underclass".   

Genetically modified crops will feed the world's poor.

Genetically modified crops pose serious risks to human health.

Genetic engineering will cause the growth of "super weeds" and "super bugs".

Cloning will produce generically superior human beings.

We can "bring back" extinct organisms and save others from becoming extinct.

Will I be able to choose the eye color of my baby?

Are you prepared to answer student questions like these? What kinds of activities can you plan for your students that will help them explore the scientific principles and ethical issues associated with genetics and genomics? Part of your job at the Woodrow Wilson Biology 2001 Institute will be to develop a curricular unit that you can use with your students to this end.

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/student.html