Resources for Teachers

Nobel Conference 53
Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?

Here is a collection of resources for you to use in your classroom to prepare your students for the 2017 Nobel Conference on gene editing and the ethics of gene manipulation.  There will be a variety of videos, readings, labs and biographies of the speakers at this conference.  Most are free of charge but I will provide you with a small collection of links to activities/labs that are commercially available from a variety of science supply houses.  In fact, you might have run these labs with your students already.  Feel free to take and use whatever you would like from this compendium of resources.

Robert Shoemaker
High School Resources Coordinator
Gustavus Adolphus College

General Conference Information

Origin and Vision of Nobel
Introductory Page for 2017 Conference

PodcastsRadio Lab logo

One of this year’s guest panelists is Jad Abumrad, creator and co-collaborator with Robert Krulwich of RadioLab on National Public Radio.  Krulwich is a longtime science writer on NPR who is also the author of the “Curiously Krulwich” blog featured on National Geographic.  Together, Abumrad and Krulwich have created a WNYC production of RadioLab in which they spend a half hour per podcast to educate and inform the public about the current science topics of the day.  Within the podcast, they interview leading scientists and describe complex scientific concepts into an easy to grasp format using a variety of tools and sounds. 

Here are a few selections from the vast archive of the podcast. Each podcast is between 50-60 minutes.
Radiolab episode: CRISPR   
Radiolab episode: Donation and MutationScience Friday logo

National Public Radio also has the “Science Friday” podcasts available for all things science every week.
Here are a collection of those programs dedicated to the CRISPR gene editing technology
Science Frieday programs on CRISPR

TED Talks

Here are quite a few videos of various lengths all pertaining to Gene Editing Technology and the ethics revolving around the CRISPR concept.  They are quite a few cross connections between the people interviewed on the podcasts from above and the TED Talks that follow:Ted Talks logo

Jennifer Doudna: How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA
Ellen Jorgensen: What you need to know about CRISPR
Jennifer Kahn: Gene editing can now change an entire species -- forever     
Paul Knoepfler: The ethical dilemma of designer babies 

Laboratory Activities

Microbial Culturing Module
The Micorbial Culturing Module contains reagents necessary for teaching basic sterile technique, culturing E. coli, transforming ampicillin resistant bacteria and growing miniprep cultures.  The protocol can easily be integrated into existing microbiology laboratory activities and independent study projects.

Bio-Rad:  pGLO Bacterial Transformation Kit
Genetic engineering is the process of manipulating the genetic material of an organism-often to include the DNA from a foreign organism.  Using the classic pGLO Bacterial Transformation Kit, students transform bacteria by introducing a gene from the bioluminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria.  The same procedure has been used to create “designer proteins” which have lead to the explosion of new health treatments, agricultural applications, and environmental solutions. 


There are a large number of introductory readings on the topic of gene editing technology and I will give you a few here to choose from.  This can be a very large rabbit hole to dive in to so I will try to make this as easy and complete as possible without getting way out of control.

Medium article on Genetics
This is an on line publishing and writing website founded by Twitter cofounder, Evan Williams in 2012.  He researches and puts together a number of links and stories about a subject all with an eye on how to invest in a new startup business with a possibility of making a lot of money on your initial investment.  Having said that, he definitely has compiled a number of genetically related topics on this link so be careful, this can be a pretty dense amount of information: 

Gizmodo logoGizmodo article on CRISPR
Gizmodo is a design, technology, science and science fiction website that writes articles on politics. 

Your Genome.Org
More information about CRISPRPhys.Org Logo

Phys.Org - Gene Editing
This organization is all things science in many different disciplines.  A great resource for numerous fresh ideas and research in the field(s).

CroFrankenstein book coverss Curricular Connections - Read Frankenstein

Gustavus and St. Peter are featuring Mary Shelly’s classic Frankenstein as a Reading in Common experience in preparation for the upcoming conference during their freshman seminar course.  If you’re feeling a bit adventurous you could try to work this novel into your classroom with a little help from your faculty in the Language Arts Department.  This might be a novel that is already read in their curriculum or at least you could have a conversation with a colleague about how to teach the essential questions and concepts from this novel about the fear of technology and the human condition?  The book is easily accessible, relatively cheap to obtain and could even come accompanied with a classic 1931 black and white movie featuring Boris Karloff as the monster.