Decoding the Flu
University of Georgia
This "clicker case" was designed to develop students' ability to read and interpret information stored in DNA. Making use of personal response systems ("clickers") along with a PowerPoint presentation, students follow the story of "Jason," a student intern at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). While working with a CDC team in Mexico, Jason is the only person who does not get sick from a new strain of flu. It is up to Jason to use molecular data collected from different local strains of flu to identify which one may be causing the illness. Although designed for an introductory biology course for science or non-science majors, the case could be adapted for upper-level courses by including more complex problems and aspects of gene expression, such as the excision of introns.
- Describe the transfer of information during gene expression from DNA to RNA to protein and the relationship between these sequences.
- Understand that each chromosome contains a large amount of information and that only a small part of this information is needed to code for a specific protein. Identifying information to make a specific protein requires the use of punctuation at both the DNA level and at the RNA level.
- Determine the protein coded for by a DNA or RNA molecule, and comment on how changes to the DNA / RNA molecule will affect the protein.
KeywordsGenetic code; DNA/RNA; transcription; translation; influenza; flu; vaccine; infectious disease
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Molecular Biology | Public Health |
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