A Right to Her Genes
Department of Biological Sciences
Penn State Harrisburg
Department of Mathematics and Science
Middlesex Community College
In this true story, students examine the case of a woman with a family predisposition to cancer who is considering genetic testing. Students learn about various aspects of DNA testing and determine how to counsel the woman. The case was designed for an advanced undergraduate molecular biology course but could be modified for an introductory biology, genetics, or ethics classes.
- Become aware of the ability to detect mutations associated with cancer.
- Consider the ethical concerns related to DNA testing.
- Understand the scientific techniques useful for analyzing DNA mutations in people.
- Become aware of the scientific limitations of our understanding of DNA sequence changes in human genes.
- Become aware of alternative career paths, including working as a genetic counselor, doing laboratory research on cancer genes, designing drugs at pharmaceutical companies.
KeywordsBreast cancer; ovarian cancer; genetic testing; genetic counseling; genes; DNA; BRCA1; oophorectomy; mastectomy; bioethics
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Role-Play, Jig-Saw
Subject HeadingsMolecular Biology | Genetics / Heredity | Biology (General) |
Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.
Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.