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Back-to-school gene tools are just a click away

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Summer's over, so it's back to the books and biology class. And that means genetics labs and research reports on the Human Genome Project. To help teachers and pupils get a jumpstart, the Education and Community Involvement Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has created a collection of fun and useful online educational resources. Genetics typically turns up on the fall teaching schedule, so now is as good a time to get ahead of the curve with these tools:

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

NHGRI launched an online multimedia glossary to help people better understand genetic terms and concepts associated with many of the recent advances in genetics. The recently revamped glossary contains several new features, including more than 100 vibrant illustrations and more than two dozen 3-D animations that allow the user to dive in and see genetic concepts in action at the cellular level. Illustrations are freely available for download in the PDF format and are quite useful tool for handouts, overhead projection, or student projects.

National DNA Day Facebook Page

NHGRI created the DNA Day Facebook page to raise awareness about National DNA Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the publication in Nature magazine of the first scientific description of the double helical structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. Although National DNA Day is observed on April 25, the National DNA Day Facebook page offers cool articles and fun facts throughout the year, including posts leading up to the DNA Day activities, such as the annual chat room event in which students can ask questions and get answers from working genomics researchers.

Genomic Careers Resource

Students and teachers often ask about the kind of careers they might consider in the field of genetics and genomics. Equally importantly, students want to know how much can they earn. To answer these questions, NHGRI created an online careers resource that showcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, career profiles, tools to rate potential career choices, and an interactive game. And the database provides annual salaries, along with educational requirements.

Fact Sheets

NHGRI provides fun fact sheets for teachers, students and the general public. Clearly written and easy to understand, the fact sheets cover a wide range of subjects, from cloning to DNA sequencing; it's all free and online.

Understanding the Human Genome Project

In addition, to the resources listed above, you can also find a fan-favorite: The Online Education Kit. Focused on understanding the Human Genome Project, a wide range of elements and modules can be downloaded directly from genome.gov. Examples of the segments include: a narrated and animated visual on how to sequence a genome, the future of research and medicine, and the ethical legal & social implications of genomic research.

NHGRI makes it easy to find these resources on genome.gov in a number of ways. The Education button in the middle of the home page provides a drop-down menu of the various resources; clicking on the button takes you to the Education landing page with links to all education resources. Finally, the For You channel button on the top right of every page allows users to define themselves as students or educations and provides links to pages with carefully selected content for each audience.

So whether you are a budding biologist, teacher developing a plan or a pupil laboring under a writing assignment, there is a little something for everyone in the education section of genome.gov. And always feel free to suggest other content or ask a question on the contact page.

Last updated: December 27, 2012