Earlier this year, 23andMe had the pleasure of hosting a workshop in cooperation with the Bay Area Biotechnology Education Consortium (BABEC), an organization that was instrumental in my former career as a high school biotechnology and biology teacher. BABEC provides educators in the San Francisco area with professional development, reagents and equipment to perform advanced biotechnology labs with students. More than 50 high school and college educators attended the Saturday morning event at Skyline College, coming from as far as Seattle and California’s Central Valley.
The main goal of the workshop was to familiarize participants with 23andMe educational tools and resources that will enable them to design their own relevant and engaging activities for teaching key concepts in genetics in a novel way. As an example, I created a lesson about genetic probability that is based on my own family’s 23andMe reports for lactose intolerance. The activity has two objectives:
- Predict the phenotypic and genotypic probability that a couple’s future child will experience lactose intolerance.
- Determine genotype frequency at marker rs4988235 for different populations.
In this activity, students learn about one of the markers for the lactose intolerance phenotype and its associated variants. Students then deduce my family’s genotype and phenotype by putting together pieces of information from my family tree and completing Punnett squares. The second part of the activity has students use the Hardy-Weinberg equation to predict genotype frequency for lactose intolerance in populations reported on by 23andMe.
Putting 23andMe to Work in the Classroom
More than 60 sample reports, like the lactose intolerance report, are available for free on 23andMe’s new Educators website. This means educators and students do not need to be genotyped with 23andMe in order to access 23andMe reports for use in the classroom.
It’s these types of ideas, and more, that the 23andMe Education Team wants to help teachers and other educators design, implement and then share with others. If you would like to work together to create an activity, or would like to share one of your own innovative genetics lessons, email us at educators@23andMe.com.
We look forward to hearing how you are modernizing genetics curriculum in your own classrooms.
23andMe Education Team