Genome and Gene expression

Students find the topics of genome and gene expression difficult. Through exposure in the media and popular science, students are often aware of a range of terms such as: DNA, chromosome, genes, genetic engineering etc and they know that genes are used to carry information.

However, this over exposure can lead to misinformation and misconceptions with students understanding; they struggle to appreciate the relative size of DNA, the nucleus and the whole cell, as media images often appear to show DNA and genes as something which appears visible. Using animations and images can help to put the structure of DNA into context and appreciate the scale of DNA molecule and chromosomes.

The level of detail that is required in the study of DNA is also not always understood by students, students must be able to describe DNA as a polymer made from four different nucleotides, and they must know that each nucleotide consists of a common sugar and phosphate group with one of four different bases attached to it. Students must also be able to give a simple description of protein synthesis, which includes explaining how DNA structure affects the proteins made in protein synthesis. This requires some time to deliver and careful planning is required to ensure that this content is covered effectively.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.