Wiggles Isn’t Wiggling: Gene Expression Edition
The Feasibility of Cancer Treatment for the Family Dog
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
This case study tells the story of a family pet that is diagnosed with cancer. Claire learns that her dog Wiggles has lymphoma, and that histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) offer a potential treatment. Students integrate material related to the central dogma as they learn how HDACi work and their potential in treating cancer. Finally, students are asked to decide the feasibility of cancer treatment for a family dog. This case study is closely related to another by the same author: "Wiggles Isn't Wiggling: Apoptosis Edition." Both cases were written for the same course and share the same basic story. The apoptosis edition is used as a review for the section on cell cycle regulation and signal transduction pathways. The gene expression version is used at the end of the section on regulation of gene expression. Although there is some overlap, the two cases have different sets of objectives and question sets (with the exception of the final assignment).
- Explain epigenetic control of gene expression at the chromatin level.
- Compare and contrast control of gene expression at the chromatin and transcriptional levels.
- Design an experiment to test the efficacy of a drug using proper controls, reagents, and experimental techniques. Predict the results that could be obtained from such an experiment.
- Discuss feasibility of cancer treatment in the context of a pet dog.
Keywordsepigenetics; histones; histone acetyltransferases; histone deacetylase; depsipeptides; cancer; cell cycle control; apoptosis; chromatin; gene expression; signal transduction
Topical AreasEthics, Scientific method
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsDirected, Discussion
Subject HeadingsCell Biology | Biochemistry | Medicine (General) | Molecular Biology |