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A Family in Need: In-Class Case Study on Cancer Genetics
This case is designed as an in-class, problem-based learning activity for students to learn about several innovative medical applications of molecular biology. Students assume the role of a second-year medical student assigned to work with a pediatric ...

A Family in Need: Internet-Enhanced Case Study on Cancer Genetics
This problem-based learning case was designed for students to learn about several innovative medical applications of molecular biology. Students assume the role of a second-year medical student assigned to work with a pediatric oncologist who has just ...

All That Glitters May Not Be Gold
In this decision case, a congressional staffer must weigh a number of competing concerns and issues, including popular reactions to genetically modified organisms, in deciding how to present information to her boss, an influential congressman drafting ...

An Unusual Case of Animal Reproduction
This case study in human reproduction follows Andrea, a college biology student who discovers she is pregnant with twins, but is not sure who the father is. Students are presented with a variety of signs, symptoms, and physiological information that th...

Applying High-Throughput Analysis to Biofilms
This case study describes a hypothetical scenario in which a dental practice is contaminated from an unknown source resulting in multiple patients contracting the same bacterial infection. Simplified procedural information is provided for students to a...

Bioengineering the Pancreas
This case study applies problem-based learning to the field of biotechnology. Students assume the role of newly-hired bioengineers at a fictitious biotech company, Bio-Art. Students work individually to complete background research in the basic biology...

Bringing Back Baby Jason
This dilemma case, designed for use in an undergraduate genetics course, explores the basic genetic concepts underlying the cloning process as well as the ethical, medical, political, economic, and religious issues surrounding human cloning. While the ...

BSL-4: Authorized Personnel Only
This case study is based on the 2014 Ebola epidemic that spread to multiple highly populated countries in West Africa, making it the largest and most devastating outbreak in the history of the virus. The storyline, inspired by a compilation of factual ...

Certified Cultured Beef
In this case study, students are introduced to concepts and techniques in modern biotechnology, as well as the possible implications of this emerging science, by considering the possibility of in vitro cultured meat. Intended for use in a coll...

Corn Ethanol Debate
To what extent should corn be used for the production of ethanol? Are we better off producing corn for food or producing corn for fuel? This case study uses a technique called "intimate debate" (also known as "constructive controversy") in order to exa...

Cow of the Future
In this case developed for an introductory general microbiology course, students consider concepts of bacterial genetics as they act as consultants to a foundation interested in funding innovative products. Students take the role of advising "the baron...

Cut It Out!
This directed case study was developed to introduce students to the CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome editing. CRISPR-Cas9 has made numerous headlines in both the scientific and popular press, and thus serves as an excellent model for learning current biot...

Do You Really Know What You're Eating?
Starting from a fictional “news” report about an apparent allergic reaction to a taco tainted by genetically modified corn, students consider some of the techniques and procedures used in modern molecular genetics and microbiology as well a...

FOXP2 and Speech
FOXP2 was first identified as a human language gene when a mutated version of the gene was found to cause speech problems in the KE family in London. In 2009, a research team transferred the cloned FOXP2 gene into mice and demonstrated that the FOXP2 t...

Frankenfoods?
This discussion case, in which a university research laboratory is vandalized by environmental activists opposed to genetic engineering, focuses on the science and ethics of genetically modified crops. Students consider both the risks and benefits of b...

From Cow Juice to a Billion Dollar Drug, With Some Breakthroughs in Between
Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. Despite the successful management of diabetes with purified animal insulin, potentially severe side effects were abundant, and alternative ways to produ...

Glowing Plants on Kickstarter
This case study is centered on a real scenario from 2013 in which the Kickstarter fundraising platform included a fundraising proposal from a group wanting to use synthetic biology to make glowing plants. The proposal raised controversy because the Glo...

Golden Rice
In this intimate debate case, students consider whether to support the development and use of Golden Rice as a means to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. Since many of the arguments typically raised against genetically modified or...

Jim and the Forgotten Embryos
The goal of this case study is to expose students to the basics of embryonic stem cells, their therapeutic uses, and the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells through the story of a college student, Jim Allison, who becomes paralyzed after a car...

Modern Frankenstein?
This interdisciplinary case study uses the format of a progressive disclosure to explore certain advances in biotechnology and evaluate them within the framework of societal needs, concerns and pressures.  When faced with a heart valve transplant,...

New Ways to Breathe
This case study follows a young cystic fibrosis (CF) patient named Lucas. Through Lucas's story and interactions between his parents and pediatrician, students learn about the scientific background and basis of CF. By reviewing email correspondence bet...

Pharmacogenetics: Using Genetics to Treat Disease
This case study investigates the applications of genetics to medicine by exploring one of the first examples of a pharmacogenetic test to enter mainstream clinical practice. Pharmacogenetics examines how genetic variations in an individual correlate wi...

Seeds of Dissension
A possible act of industrial espionage is the backdrop for this case study, which introduces students to analytical techniques routinely used in most areas of biotechnology, including forensic science and patent lawsuits. In this fictional case, "Roger...

Selecting the Perfect Baby
This dilemma case is based on the true story of Jack and Lisa Nash, whose daughter Molly was born with a rare genetic disorder, Fanconi anemia. By having another child with specific genetic markers, the Nashes hoped to cure Molly using stem cells from ...

Snow White Apples?
The protagonist of this two-day flipped case study, “Maria,” has two problems. She doesn’t like it when the apple slices in her lunch turn brown, and she needs to find a project for her biology class that includes molecular biology, p...

SNPs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, and That's What People Are Made Of
In this case on genome privacy, students work together to research one of six assigned lobbying groups’ views in this area and then present their groups’ positions before a mock meeting of a U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee as the...

Stem Cells: Promises to Keep?
Samantha and her husband Brad have two children, conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization treatments. After viewing a TV program on stem cells and their potential medical uses, Samantha is convinced that they should donate the remaining frozen...

Stem Cells: Promises to Keep? Clicker Case Version
This clicker case is based upon the case "Stem Cells: Promises to Keep" written by Lauren E. Yaich and published by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. The case is formatted as a PowerPoint presentation (1.5 MB) punctuated by quest...

The Case of Eric, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Stem Cell Research
Thirty-one-year-old Eric has begun to show signs of the debilitating and fatal neuromuscular disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Students follow Eric as he is examined by his physician and then a specialist...

The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: Advanced Edition
This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergenicity. The case has two versions, or editions.  The "General Edition," also published on this site, ...

The Case of the Tainted Taco Shells: General Edition
This case discusses some of the issues associated with the use of genetically modified plants, including ecological risks, resistance, and allergenicity. The case has two versions, or editions.  This edition (the "General Edition") emphasizes the ...

The Curious Case of the Carbon Copy Kitty
After the media coverage of Dolly the sheep and pet cloning, most students in a general biology or general genetics course will have heard of animal cloning, but it is also common for them to hold a number of misconceptions about the science of mammali...

The Evolving Genetics of Disease Resistance
This interrupted case study for the flipped classroom applies evolutionary genetics research to human health. Students learn about a naturally occurring, but rare, allele of the CCR5 gene, CCR5-Δ32, which provides resistance to ...

The Fun in Fermentation
When covering the process of cellular respiration, advanced high school and undergraduate biology classes present fermentation as a means of anaerobic energy production in certain organisms and in muscle metabolism. Although most biology textbooks cove...

The Raelians
The topics of human cloning and pseudoscience are introduced in this case through the story of Claude Vorilhon, a French auto racing journalist who makes some unusual claims regarding the influence of extraterrestrials on human history and purpose. The...

The Sad But True Case of Earl Washington
In 1983, Earl Washington "confessed" to a violent crime that he did not commit and was sentenced to death row. After spending seventeen years in prison for something he didn't do, Earl was released in 2001 after his innocence was proven through the use...

Torn at the Genes
The setting for this case is the family dinner table, where a heated discussion about genetically altered foods is taking place. Marsha Cumberland’s brother-in-law has joined the family for dinner. Ed is an industry official whose job it is to de...

Tougher Plants
This "clicker case" follows two recent college graduates as they look for scientific answers to explain why the plants on their new tomato farm are not doing well. Working with their agricultural extension agent, they explore the scientific literature ...

Two Peas in a Pod
Based on an actual event, this case study focuses on some of the problems associated with reproductive technologies. It tells the story of the "Joneses," who after in vitro fertilization treatment, discover that their fraternal twins are less ...

Which Little Piggy Went to Market?
In this case study, a scientist is contacted by a friend from a meat processing plant who is looking for a test to determine the sex of the animals that contributed to a particular batch of meat. He needs to know because meat from uncastrated males (bo...