Explore the Application of Genomics to the World Around Us 


The new and developing field of genomics involves the study of the genome, the entirety of a person’s genes. Genomic studies in medicine are showing that interaction between genes and environmental factors and lifestyle choices can have a major influence on a person’s risk of developing diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  

Developed in partnership with Illumina, DNA Decoded provides educators with tools to help their high school students make personal connections to genomics by exploring the impact of the genome on mental health, the impact of genetic screening as a predictor of athletic performance, and the surprising results that the genome can reveal about race and its connection to medicine and human health. 

An all new educator explainer provides a step-by-step best practices for getting started with the resources. The guide breaks down the first segment of DNA Decoded resources, “Cracking the Code” to help educators determine where they should start to get their students’ feet wet in the field of genomics using a single class period or 45-minute lesson. Following an explanation of each starting point, educators are encouraged to move to the next resource in that category to extend the learning. 

This approach will help educators more easily engage students in lessons highlighting timely and relevant topics impacted by innovations in genomics, such as: 

  • In Targeting Cancer, students learn how targeted therapy is changing treatment for cancer patients by using gene sequencing to look for cellular changes, chromosomal abnormalities, and gene mutations. They will explore various types of targeted therapy and help fictional doctors create personalized treatments to save lives. 
  • Race and Medicine shines a light on the question of the science behind classifying humans as different ‘races.’ Students have the opportunity to role-play working as scientists to build evidence and build and argument to answer their assigned question related to race and ancestry.? This cross-disciplinary activity aligns to NGSS, as well as standards for Technological Literacy and English Language Arts. 
  • Medicine of the Future gives students the opportunity to get hands on as they role-play hospital administrators, who are implementing precision medicine at their site. To plan this change, students will investigate what genome testing entails, explore a genetic database to understand the sheer scope of genes, and read an article about precision medicine. 
  • In?The?Microbiome and Mental Health, a digital lesson bundle featuring student activities and a complete lesson in PowerPoint,?students will evaluate a growing body of evidence showing that the tiny microbes living in your gut may have a major influence on your brain.?Ultimately, students will create a large 2-D informational graphic on a poster board that contains pictures, diagrams, and?details?explaining?the?connection to mental health and the microbiome.? 

These flexible resources are easy to access wherever learning is taking place through DNADecoded.com or on the DNA Decoded Channel in the Discovery Education learning platform.?