Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Catch of the Day - DNA - 3/9/2011

DNA is a five-part television series from PBS produced by Thirteen/WNET-New York exploring the history, development, and future of DNA science.


The DNA television series and web episodes can be a valuable resource for teachers and students. The five episodes in the DNA series:

  1. The Secret of Life - The discovery of the double helix structure of DNA was a race between two teams of young scientists working in Britain, as well as the chemist Linus Pauling in California.
  2. Playing God - In 1973, two scientists performed an experiment transferring the DNA of one species to another, becoming the first genetic engineers and generating a wave of controversy.
  3. Human Race - The Human Genome Project was launched in 1990 and took over a decade to complete and cost billions of dollars. A rival private bid was initiated eight years later in an attempt to shut the public project down. An intense feud erupted between supporters of each project, so intense that President Clinton stepped in to try to unite the two sides.
  4. Curing Cancer - The prospect of drugs that work at the DNA level is a real one. There are currently hundreds of drugs in development that might work  on different kinds of cancer in revolutionary ways.
  5. Pandora's Box - Consider what effect the advancements in genetic science may have on our future. Can DNA science be used to change the human race?


In the For Teachers section are detailed lesson plans and activities for middle and high school students that are designed to fit in just a few class periods. Included are printable handouts. Lessons are correlated to the National Science Standards.


PBS allows each DNA episode to be taped off-the-air and used for one year from the initial broadcast for educational purposes. Videotapes for schools, libraries, and other educational institutions are available for purchase online through Films for the Humanities and Sciences or from Shop Thirteen.


The DNA series received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


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