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Seq’ ing the Cure: Standard Edition


Heather B. Miller
Department of Chemistry
High Point University
Sabrina D. Robertson
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Melissa C. Srougi
Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences
North Carolina State University


This directed, interrupted case study is designed to introduce students to high-throughput sequencing technologies and cutting-edge methods of gene editing. The case offers students relevant, hands-on experience in manipulating large sequencing data sets for subsequent data analysis and interpretation as they pertain to a real-life medical condition. Students also gain an understanding of the pathophysiology for neurological conditions, namely, ALS, multiple sclerosis (MS), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The case uses peer teaching activities in which students teach each other about next-generation sequencing (NGS) and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.  Additionally, group discussion is used to interpret clinical data and diagnose a patient’s condition. This case study is appropriate for students who have completed one or two years of introductory biology or genetics courses at the college level. The case is closely related to “Seq’ing the Cure: Neuroscience Edition.” Both cases share the same story and base set of questions, but the neuroscience edition has additional questions and material for a neuroscience focus and a research journal club discussion about the article on which the case is based (Kramer, N.J., et al., 2018, Nature Genetics, DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0070-7) (access to the article is not included and must be acquired separately).


  • Define high-throughput (HT) technologies.
  • Discuss the molecular mechanism of CRISPR/Cas9.
  • Summarize the pathophysiology of neurological disorders.
  • Analyze clinical data.
  • Utilize Microsoft Excel to analyze RNA-seq data and identify differentially expressed genes.
  • Evaluate biochemical pathways enriched in differentially expressed genes using bioinformatic tools.
  • Discuss how to interpret peer-reviewed high-throughput discovery scientific literature.


RNA-seq; high-throughput; CRISPR-Cas9; next generation sequencing; data analysis; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate upper division


PDF, PowerPoint, Excel

Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Biochemistry  |   Bioinformatics  |   Biotechnology  |   Molecular Biology  |   Neuroscience  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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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.

Supplemental Materials

The Microsoft Excel file below contains the RNA-seq data required for completing Parts V and VI of the case study. Also below is an optional Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that can be used by the instructor in class to guide students through the case.

  seq_cure_standard_dataset.xlsx (~6.1 MB)
  seq_cure_standard_sup.pptx (~3.2 MB)

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.