Nowgen Schools Genomics Programme

The Nowgen Schools Genomics Programme aims to narrow the gap between genomics research and classroom genetics. The Programme is designed to equip young people to assess the real potential of genomics, and how best to make informed decisions about future healthcare.

Emerging knowledge of genetics in medicine has extended beyond rare conditions to include common diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Large scale genetic association research, such as case control studies, help tease out the contribution genes make to disease.

These studies raise many questions, some scientific, some ethical and some political, yet there is rarely opportunity within the curriculum for school-aged students to consider them. By working with key players in the scientific and education communities, Nowgen’s Schools Genomics Programme (NSGP) embeds contemporary research into school science and supports teachers in enlivening students’ experience.

Teacher and student support is provided through:
*exploring genetic and lifestyle contributions to disease
*considering the methodological challenges of large scale case control studies
*examining the social and ethical challenges to society in setting up such studies
*exploring the potential impact of data arising from these studies.

Nowgen's approach highlights how modern genomics draws on ideas about science, such as correlation and cause, the role of clinical trials and the ethical issues that this research raises. NSGP has contributed to the revisions of OCR Twenty First Century Science GCSE, and towards advising on the content of new Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers in biology.

The close relationship of the project with the Nuffield Foundation and the University of York Science Education Group in England, and SSERC in Scotland, places the programme close to the heart of innovative curriculum development in both nations. NSGP will also produce eight new case studies to support the Edexcel Perspectives on Science course and stimulus materials to assist Edexcel A-level (SNAB) biology students to complete the externally assessed aspects of their courses.

Mapping how emerging scientific research and innovative curriculum development are translated into new courses and specifications is complex. The NSGP, funded by the Wellcome Trust, includes a research strand that is helping to characterise how scientific developments can become incorporated into what young people learn, and to establish a model that can be emulated by future initiatives.

Isinglass Consultancy has been commissioned to carry out this work, and more specifically to identify:
*The extent to which teachers become more aware of genome-wide association studies and biobanking.
*The role of the project in contributing to a change in awareness of the shift from Mendelian genetics to genomics, especially in relation to medicine.
*Knowledge of the key features of genetics related to common and compex disease.

Resources

Genomics, Society and Health

This Nowgen video, produced by Teachers TV, looks at how our knowledge about genetics has increased dramatically over the past three decades. New research techniques, such as genome-wide association studies and biobanks, have been developed to help identify the genes that contribute to common and complex diseases...

Genes and Disease

This video from Nowgen, produced by Teachers TV, explores how modern genetic research is helping scientists to understand a rare life-threatening heart condition, as well as the more common skin condition, eczema. Susie Murray has a rare inherited heart condition called Long QT which, if left untreated, can lead...

Breast Cancer in the Family

This Nowgen Schools Genomics Programme video explores how genomic research is helping scientists to understand the genetic and environmental factors affecting complex medical conditions, such as breast cancer.

Risk of breast cancer is approximately one in ten in northern European populations, making it the...

Introducing Genomics

This resource was written by Rugby School, the Institute of Education and University of York Science Education Group on behalf of Nowgen for the Nowgen Schools Genomics Programme. The materials extend students knowledge and understanding in the area of genomics.

The student guide contains information and...

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