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DNA-dialogue

The English version of our online course on the revolutionary DNA-modification technique CRISPR-Cas is available now!

Molecular scissors, cutting-and-pasting with DNA, designer babies and 'Engineering Life', just a few terms and phrases that have become associated with the nobel-prize winning technique known as CRISPR-CAS9. But do you know exactly what CRISPR-Cas is capable of? And how the technique actually works? Which diseases could we potentially cure with CRISPR? And, possibly one of the most important questions, should we use CRISPR-Cas to its full potential? Should we for example allow the modification of embryonal DNA to prevent genetic disorders?

In association with the national DNA-dialogue and team iGem Groningen 2020 we have developed a two-part lessons series called 'Engineering Life' aimed at answering these questions. In these two lessons you will learn how CRISPR-CAS can be used to edit our DNA, to prevent diseases and delve into the question of whether we should.

Lesson 1 covers the basis in cell biology and genetics required to understand how CRISPR-Cas works and you will learn about the various potential applications of CRISPR-Cas.

Lesson 2 covers the ethical dillema's surrounding the medical use of CRISPR-CAS. You will dive into questions such as: "should we allow the modification of embryonal DNA to prevent life-threatening diseases?". Should we allow it of serious, but not life-threatening diseases? For cosmetic reasons? You will discuss these questions on the basis of Scenario's of 'The Netherlands in 2039' developed for the DNA-dialogue.

The lessons are designed for use in advanced stage HAVO/VWO classes. They can be used during Biology class, but are also interesting for civics class. Of course, they are free to use for anyone interested in the technique!

Last modified:22 October 2020 5.24 p.m.
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