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Anatomy

By Land or By Sea – Comparative Anatomy
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Video (Duration: 7m 55s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
How has nature, through evolution, used the same genes to create diversity? Researchers have identified a specific family of genes, which are responsible for body segmentation in crustaceans, like lobsters, crabs and shrimp. In humans, this same family of genes is responsible for creating our segments, such as our spine and ribs.
Other Life Science Emphases: Aquaculture, diversity, evolution

Bacteria/Viruses

Drug resistance

Super Bugs – Bacterial Drug Resistance
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Video (Duration: 9m 45s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
We are under attack — by germs. Drug-resistant bacteria are invading organisms, and hospitals are their favorite breeding ground. Scientists are studying the genetics of bacteria and trying to find out how to stop the invasion.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetics of bacteria

Malaria

Malaria – Researching New Solutions
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Video (Duration: 8m 46s)
Lesson plan (Lesson available for trial testing): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
It is one of the world’s deadliest and least understood diseases. But researchers are using fruit flies as surrogate mosquitoes to analyze this tiny, tropical parasite. By breaking it down genetically, their work could lead to better anti-malarial drugs and vaccines and, potentially, malaria-resistant mosquitoes.
Other Life Science Emphases: Health, drug discovery, resistance

Plague virus

Air War – Biological Weapons
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Video (Duration: 8m 54s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
During the Cold War, Soviet Bloc scientists apparently developed an aerosol disbursed biological weapon using the pneumonic plague virus.
Other Life Science Emphases: Bioterrorism , drug resistance

Vaccinations

First Shot – Vaccinations
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Video (Duration: 11m 10s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Vaccines do protect us from diseases but are they all that benign. Vaccine protection may exact a price on both individual and public health. The question has become, which is more dangerous – the threat of smallpox or the actual smallpox vaccine?
Other Life Science Emphases: Health, smallpox

Bioethics

Bioethics

Bioethics – Drawing the Line
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Video (Duration: 12m 4s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Tweny-four years later, we still know little about all the results of the first step of human genetic manipulation, the creation of the first test tube-baby. While the President’s advisory council debates what policies to recommend on issues of cloning and stem cell research, it’s possible to purchase eggs off the Internet. Drug companies and other commercial enterprises are patenting genes and biological processes — even before knowledge is complete about how they work. Consumers are often desperate for the treatments promised by scientific and commercial hype that comes with genetic advances. Where do you draw the line between what is ethically acceptable and what is not?
Other Life Science Emphases: Stem cell research, cloning

Therapeutic cloning

The Cloning Conflict – Parkinson’s Disease
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Video (Duration: 5m 48s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Ole Isakson has cured Parkinson’s with stem cells – in mice. But to translate that success to humans, he needs to do a lot more research with human embryonic stem cells. To what extent does the present climate dampen research, and how does that impact patients, physically and emotionally?
Other Life Science Emphases: Embryonic stem cell research

Biotechnology

Bio-mimicry

Got Silk? – Biotech Applications
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Video (Duration: 9m 7s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Imagine spinning goat milk into spider silk five times stronger than steel! Scientists have found a way to put a whole new spin on genetic research. It’s called biomimicry. Scientists are now able to mimic a spider’s web by breeding goats with spider genes in their mammary cells. The goat’s milk contains a protein that can be spun and stretched into a fine silk fit to cover Spiderman – the spidergoat is here.
Other Life Science Emphases: Protein manipulation, insects

Individualized drugs

For Personal Use Only – Individualized Drugs
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Video (Duration: 8m 54s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
The research in genetics promises a revolution in pharmaceuticals. Right now there are high hopes, some exciting possibilities but few real therapies. In this segment we will survey the ways in which genetic information might be able to prevent and treat disease ... from vaccines to sprays to gene therapy. The ultimate dream is the ability to create specific, individualized drugs that are effective and have no side effects.
Other Life Science Emphases: Disease prevention

Molecular biology

A Green Light for Biology – Making the Invisible Visible
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Video (Duration: 9m 59s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
This discovery known as Green Fluorescent has revolutionized molecular biology. Movement of living molecules generally can be seen but the advent of GFP made the invisible visible. The protein, found in jellyfish, helps researchers track substances of all kinds, in real time, and show how they mark cells, maintain them and function in concert with other cells.
Other Life Science Emphases: Aquaculture, jellyfish protein

Tissue engineering

Tissue Engineering – Building Body Parts
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Video (Duration: 7m 44s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Replacing organs or tissues with lab-created counterparts; engineered kidneys, livers and hearts. Science fiction? Not any more – scientists are already successfully growing all kinds of organs and tissues in the lab.
Other Life Science Emphases: Organ replacement

Toxic chemical

Deadly Patterns – Toxicogenomics
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Video (Duration: 5m 37s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
The process of identifying toxins and carcinogens is quite laborious, and can take years and the costs can swell into the millions of dollars. Ken Olden of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is leading the way in a new field of science called toxicogenomics. Utilizing the information from The Human Genome Project, Olden and colleagues are studying genetic responses to certain chemicals thought to be dangerous. The goal is to create a database of how organisms respond to harmful chemicals which could help researchers and drug developers save considerable amounts of time and money.
Other Life Science Emphases: Database of toxins

Transplants

Xenografts – Alternative Transplants
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Video (Duration: 8m 14s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
How realistic is the idea that pigs may eventually make up the void in organs needed for transplants in humans? Will genetically modifying the pig by inducing tolerance in patients be enough to make the grafts possible, or will such challenges prove to be insurmountable?
Other Life Science Emphases: Animal virus, anatomy, medical use

Botany

New sweetener

Sweet Genes – A Very Sweet Protein
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Video (Duration: 8m 58s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
There’s a new sugar in town – 200 times sweeter than its predecessor. Thanks to genetic research, scientists have found a way to synthesize berries of the West African Brazzein plant, and manipulate its protein.
Other Life Science Emphases: Biotechnology, genetics

Salt-tolerant plants

Salt of the Earth – Engineering Salt-tolerant Plants
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Video (Duration: 8m 56s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
With the world population at six billion people and counting, a food supply is an ever-increasing concern. Meanwhile, 25 million acres of productive agricultural land are being lost each year as the soil becomes increasingly salty. We could face a substantial shortage. The question is: should we fix the soils or alter the genetics of plants? Eduardo Blumwald at the University of California has genetically engineered a plant to endure salty soils. His transgenic creation borrows a specific salt-tolerant gene for the lowly cabbage plant.
Other Life Science Emphases: Food supply

Trees

Cloning Around – Champion Trees
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Video (Duration: 7m 13s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Dave Milarch doesn’t know if the oldest and largest trees in America have a genetic leg up — but the fact of their robust longevity is enough for him. He is grafting/cloning the biggest and oldest trees from every species in America so that when someone finally gets interested, their genes will still be around.
Other Life Science Emphases: Preservation of species, genetics

Careers in Life Sciences

Systems biology

A New Frontier: Systems Biology New video
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Video (Duration: 12m 55s)
Systems biology says you can’t make any progress towards, say, curing disease by studying any one of these ‘omes’ in isolation. The aim of systems biology is to integrate all these ‘omic’ disciplines with the ultimate aim of understanding biological systems. In the video, VCU professors Tom Huff and Greg Buck shed some light on the benefits and challenges of the systems biology approach. How will we prepare the next generation of biologists and doctors? There seems to be a consensus that the systems approach needs to start being taught in schools, but as yet there are no standardized models for doing so. We will also see one experiment in action. A school in Chesterfield County, Va., teamed up with Jeff Elhai at VCU to conduct original research into virus samples.
Other Life Science Emphases: OMICS Science

Cancer research

Heal Thyself – Research Careers
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Video (Duration: 9m 4s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
At the age of three, Kyle Rattray developed a rare child-onset cancer of the kidney called Wilm’s tumor. The experience, which he survived, has directed his life to cancer research. Today, Kyle is a sophomore at MIT, taking biology from Professor Eric Lander and working on a research project in Professor David Housman’s lab – research aimed at cancer.
Other Life Science Emphases:

Student research

Beyond the Classroom: Connecting Students to Real World Scientific Research New video
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Video (Duration: 10m 39s)
One of the joys of teaching science is helping students experience the excitement of scientific discovery. For many students this happens when they take on the challenge of student research. This video re-introduces science teachers to the rewards of student research as we follow several high school students through the process of preparation and presentation of their work at a statewide science competition. The words of the student researchers will inspire your science students to take on the task of scientific study as teacher Ryan Templeton shares the challenges and benefits of student research.
Other Life Science Emphases: Research

DNA

Significance

What If? A world without code – DNA
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Video (Duration: 9m 7s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
James Watson and Francis Crick, the co-discoverers of the DNA double helix, changed the world forever when they unveiled their now familiar molecular model 50 years ago. Utilizing the data from previous biological research, Watson and Crick conceived a beautiful structure that explained how living things grow. Renowned geneticists and researchers discuss the significance of the double helix and pay tribute to its inventors, as well as ponder where we might be without this fundamental research.
Other Life Science Emphases: Double helix structure

Structure

The Secret of Life – Discovery of DNA Structure
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Video (Duration: 9m 12s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Fifty years ago, James Watson and Francis Crick announced to patrons in a Cambridge pub that they had just discovered the secret of life. Their discovery was that the DNA double helix explained how cells divide and develop. Yet it was not enlightened genius alone that propelled Watson and Crick toward this fundamental revelation. In addition they were building on the work of other scientists and a fortuitous (and un-acknowledged at the time) collaboration with Rosalind Franklin, a British X-Ray crystallographer, was of crucial help in this great achievement.
Other Life Science Emphases: Crystallography

Evolution

Photosynthesis

Sugar Rays – Evolutionary Plant Theories
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Video (Duration: 9m 8s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Sugar created from rays of sunlight! It goes on everywhere from sun up to sun down. During photosynthesis, the green pigment in plants, known as chlorophyll, ingests carbon dioxide and converts it to stored energy in the form of carbohydrates and sugars while emitting oxygen. By examining the genomes of certain green-colored bacteria, scientists are looking back in time to study our beginnings. They are finding out that life actually began in a poisonous atmosphere, where organisms, over millions of years, slowly learned the process of producing oxygen. Evidence of this change is literally etched in stone…
Other Life Science Emphases: Fossils, bacteria

Shared evolution

Send in the Marines – Help from the Ocean
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Video (Duration: 8m 47s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
We know that the mouse genome, so similar to a human’s, is a component of multiple human-related biological studies. But can sea creatures be helpful research partners, too? In 1998, the Marine Biological lab sent three toadfish up on the Discovery with John Glenn to study the effects of weightlessness and space travel on humans. In our visit to the MBL, we learn that toadfish and people have virtually identical inner ears – one of many examples of a shared evolution found in the marine environment.
Other Life Science Emphases: Aquaculture, inner ear

Similar paths

From Slime to Sublime – Evolutionary Paths
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Video (Duration: 11m 21s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
While we are similar to our fellow man in size and shape, there are many differences at the molecular level. Gene mutations and the process of natural selection are responsible for who — and what — we are and will become. The genetic combination of such creatures as butterflies and lobsters are beginning to yield some fascinating insights of just how parallel our evolutionary paths may be.
Other Life Science Emphases: Natural selection

Survival of the fittest

Night of the Twisted Helix – Mutations and Natural Selection
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Video (Duration: 9m 21s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
We are all mutants under the skin. Some mutations are good, some are bad. Some give us special abilities. Some kill us with diseases such as cancer. These mutations, also called polymorphisms, drive the process of life. It is less how the genome is spelled than how it is misspelled that makes all the difference. And the human genome, far from being a fixed target, is a fluid, dynamic, evolving, variable mutating code and is constantly updating what we are.
Other Life Science Emphases: DNA changes, DNA analysis

Forensic Science

DNA analysis

Naming the Dead – Forensic Identification
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Video (Duration: 9m 52s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Genetic science is bringing closure to Bosnian families still missing loved ones after the country's devastating war. Forensic detectives are using the latest DNA analysis techniques to identify bodies and help solve the mystery of what happened to thousands of victims.
Other Life Science Emphases: DNA identification

DNA profiling

Justice DNA – Freeing the Innocent
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Video (Duration: 12m 19s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Forensics is the application of science to legal problems. In 1984, British geneticist Alec Jefferies developed DNA profiling and it has been shaking up the process of solving crimes ever since.
Other Life Science Emphases: DNA evidence

Identifying children

A Link for the Missing – DNA “Fingerprinting”
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Video (Duration: 7m 33s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
The process of DNA profiling was developed by British geneticist Alec Jeffries in 1984 and has been instrumental in the forensic analysis of crime scene evidence leading to the conviction of perpetrators and the freeing of innocent convicts. This segment looks at the use of DNA fingerprinting as an additional way to identify children in the event of their disappearance.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic testing/DNA profiling

Genetics/Heredity

Avoiding Bottlenecks - Atlantic Sturgeon New video
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Video (Duration: 10m 53s)
It has gone through meteors, ice ages and megavolcanoes, yet could now be faced with extinction. The Atlantic Sturgeons’ future may rest on its unique genetic signature. In this episode, learn how a team of scientists are fighting to save this ancient species by studying population genetics to ensure the fish has a fighting chance at survival.
Other Life Science Emphases:

Aggression

On Aggression – What Makes Us Fight
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Video (Duration: 9m 35s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Ed Kravitz doesn’t want to control the masses or create super soldiers but he does want to understand the complex genetic circuitry of aggression responsive behavior. He’s studying the genetics of aggression by observing aggression in flies and lobsters.
Other Life Science Emphases: Scientific method, neurotransmitter

Aging

Spry Worms – Aging Genes
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Video (Duration: 7m 17s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Cynthia Kenyon’s roundworms at the University of California, San Francisco have defied the grim reaper. They’re living twice as long as they should. Why? It’s in the genes.
Other Life Science Emphases: Telomeres, immortal genes

Down syndrome

On Down – Down Syndrome
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Video (Duration: 9m 21s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Scientists have known for some time that Down Syndrome, the most common chromosomal abnormality, is caused by an additional chromosome #21. However, new fetal stem cell research is demonstrating that it is not only the presence of this additional chromosome, but also what the genes are missing, that may impede the development of a Down Syndrome brain.
Other Life Science Emphases: Stem cell research

Gender

Facts of Life – Gender Determination
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Video (Duration: 8m 0s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
David Page at the Whitehead Institute is studying the Y chromozone – the one that’ll make a man out of you. The study of the “Y” reveals much more than maleness. It tells why only men are prone to certain diseases, and how the set number of genes on the “Y” seems to be responsible for a lot of very “male” behavior.
Other Life Science Emphases: Behavior, DNA

Genetic screening

All in the Family: Genetics and Family Health History New video
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Video (Duration: 9m 40s)
Lesson plan (Lesson available for trial testing): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
We all know that things run in the family, that our genes pass inherited traits from one generation to the next. Sometimes a family knows they have a genetic condition, but pinpointing the exact problem can involve a lot of medical detective work. One key to unlocking the mystery is the family’s own health history. In the age of molecular medicine, information about health conditions that run in your family can be a powerful diagnostic tool to help you stay healthy.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic testing and counseling

Genetic screening

The Chosen Child – Screening Genetic Content
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Video (Duration: 9m 21s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Genetic research involving human embryos has been a sensitive area of investigation. A process called Pre-embryonic Genetic Diagnosis, or PGD, is a procedure available at a few infertility clinics that allows parents to screen future embryos for potential disorders. But is it also the beginning of designer babies?
Other Life Science Emphases: Designer babies

Hearing

To Hear – Genetic Deafness
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Video (Duration: 8m 35s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Maureen and Jim Hynes are the parents of two healthy, hearing children. This surprised them because both are deaf. Thanks to genetic testing, predicting deafness is easier. The numbers of deaf people aren’t decreasing though — quite the opposite. Many deaf parents are choosing to have deaf children. This segment looks at the science and the controversy behind genetic deafness.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic counseling

Music

Perfect Pitch – The Musical Gene
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Video (Duration: 9m 13s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
DNA is the biochemical blueprint that is the basis for the expression of all physical traits. But is it responsible for the expression of artistry as well? This episode explores the genetic basis for one of the most amazing of all artistic gifts, absolute pitch. Dr. Jane Gitschier, who was trained as a classical opera singer, is trying to find the gene or genes responsible for perfect pitch. Dr. Gitschier and her colleagues are hoping to determine whether perfect or absolute pitch is inherited or a consequence of gene and environmental interaction.
Other Life Science Emphases: Heredity

Pet genetics

Rover Redefined – Pet Genetics
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Video (Duration: 11m 12s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Mapping the genome has been much in the news. Researchers have charted the complete human genome, the cow genome, even the genome of the bubonic plague microbe. The latest animal to have its microscopic genetic code revealed is man’s best friend – the dog. The resulting map will be of great value to dog’s best friend – us. Because the canine genome is very similar to ours, it provides an unusually powerful research tool. Scientifically, dogs are useful because they have many litters, dozens and dozens of offspring and because dogs have been carefully bred for centuries by kennel owners who have kept accurate records.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genome mapping, pedigrees

Risk-taking

Risk-taking Genes – Genes, Environment, or Both?
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Video (Duration: 7m 49s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
What makes someone want to be a skydiver, a fighter pilot, a racecar driver? Is it in the genes? What is it about high-risk behavior that gives some people a thrill and terrifies others? For those who love “living on the edge,” it’s a critical part of life. Without their thrill-seeking hobbies, depression or more serious illnesses can set in.
Other Life Science Emphases: Depression

Twins

Testing Zygosity – Are They Identical or Not?
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Video (Duration: 8m 57s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Joe and Jason are twins, but they were never sure if they were fraternal or identical. There were a lot of differences between them. We test them to find out if they were fraternal twins or monozygotic, commonly known as identical.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic testing

Human Health

The Next Supermodel - Zebrafish New video
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Video (Duration: 11m 14s)
Other Life Science Emphases:

Alcoholism

Bar flies – Alcoholism
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Video (Duration: 7m 58s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Never seen a drunken fruit fly? Then join us as we explore the genetic connections to alcoholism by studying fruit flies at the University of California, San Francisco. Ulrike Heberlein’s “barflies” tell us a lot about how well we hold liquor and why.
Other Life Science Emphases: Scientific method, insects

Blood pressure

A Gene Called ACE – Blood Pressure
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Video (Duration: 8m 51s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Ever wondered why some people just seem naturally better at sports than others? Why some people burn off fat in the gym and others don’t? New research suggests that there’s one amazing gene, which could predict our physical state and our vulnerability to disease. A remarkable study in the UK is suggesting that the ACE gene could unlock all these secrets and more.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic predisposition

Breast cancer

Case of the Missing Gene – Breast Cancer
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Video (Duration: 8m 42s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Every year nearly 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer. A girl born today has one chance in eight of developing this disease at some point in her life. To cure breast cancer –or at least make it easily treatable—scientists say we need to know what’s happening in our genes. Researchers at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York recently discovered a gene linked to sporadic breast cancers. Scientists talk about that gene and other inherited genetic troublemakers.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic testing

Cancer

Cancer – Compiling the Catalog
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Video (Duration: 8m 51s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Researchers and physicians at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are creating a tissue bank of tumor types. This is enabling them to discover specific genetic biomarkers for various tumors and types of cancer. This library of tumor types will help doctors diagnose and treat cancers on a molecular level.
Other Life Science Emphases: Tissue bank, genetics

Diabetes

The Diabetes Cure – Creating Hope
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Video (Duration: 8m 47s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Dr. Aaron Vinik of Eastern Virginia Medical School may have found a protein that cures diabetes. By probing the gene that makes insulin, Vinik discovered INGAP, which when injected into diabetic animals increased their insulin levels and lowered glucose levels. Human clinical trails have just begun, creating hope for the 130 million diabetics all over the world.
Other Life Science Emphases: Drug discovery

Leukemia

In the Blood – Leukemia
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Video (Duration: 10m 25s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Leukemias are cancers of the blood - what scientists call “liquid tumors” – unlike the solid tumors in the tissues attacked by other cancers. George Daley has dedicated his career to cracking the mysteries of leukemia. He has had limited success and is now doing research on the use of stem cells from a patient‘s bone marrow.
Other Life Science Emphases: Stem cell research

Obesity

Fighting Fat – New Ways to Win
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Video (Duration: 10m 34s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Scientists love to argue, but there is one thing they agree on: Americans are getting fatter. Obesity is now considered a disease, and it is reaching epidemic proportions all over the world. Researchers at VCU are tackling the problem with a novel, genetic approach. By isolating the genes that keep people thin, they identify biological pathways that contribute to high metabolism — raising hopes for therapy for the obese.
Other Life Science Emphases: Thin gene

Race and disease

Skin Deep? – Race and Disease
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Video (Duration: 10m 3s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
What’s the connection between genes and race? It’s a loaded issue but one which scientists – and society – will have to deal with as genetic research advances. Many scientists believe geographical origins are more relevant to variations in human genomes than racial makeup. Nevertheless, researchers are finding genetic diseases that are more prevalent in particular racial groups. And drug research has shown that reactions to certain medications differ between racial groups.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic disease distribution

Schizophrenia

Are the Voices in the Genes – Schizophrenia
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Video (Duration: 9m 33s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Schizophrenia is a mysterious, tragic brain disease that affects 24 million adults worldwide with hallucinations, delusions and other symptoms. Mr. Keafer understands the disease first hand – he has it. Like most victims of the disease he was diagnosed when he was in his late teens and has often wondered, “why me?” Is it genetic or environmental? Researchers are closing in on the cause.
Other Life Science Emphases: Genetic vs. environmental

Sickle cell anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia – Hope from Gene Therapy
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Video (Duration: 10m 4s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
This inherited red blood cell disorder is the most common genetic disease in America, and one of the most painful and debilitating. Until now, bone marrow and cord blood transplants have been the only treatment available to patients, and matched donors are hard to find. But an experiment at Genetix in Cambridge, Massachusetts is raising hopes. By treating the bone marrow of mice with anti-sickling gene therapy, scientists saw great improvement in normal red blood production.
Other Life Science Emphases: Donor matching

Sleep patterns

Rhythm and Snooze – Circadian Genes
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Video (Duration: 9m 51s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
We know that our sleep-wake patterns are regulated by our circadian rhythm — our internal clock. And now doctors are learning more about a set of genes responsible for making this clock tick. They also are discovering the circadian rhythms for vital organs — working in unison to create a living, breathing, walking clock. This system of “circadian genes” is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle of other genes as we are proving that one’s body is comprised of a series of circadian rhythms. This scientific research could lead to new ways of treating those of us who are night owls or daytime larks.
Other Life Science Emphases: Internal clocks

Smoking

Quick Fix – Smoking in the Genes
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Video (Duration: 9m 31s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Why do some smokers become addicted to nicotine and others do not? And does the tendency to smoke run in families? Researchers are conducting studies on identical twins – some smokers, some non-smokers – to help determine the heritability of nicotine addiction. Identical twins have identical genomes, so if one of the twins is a smoker it is likely that the sibling will be a smoker, too. By studying their metabolic reactions to the nicotine, the scientists expect to learn whether addiction is more a matter of character, environment or the gene itself.
Other Life Science Emphases: Addiction

Insects

Bioaccumulation

Six-legged Spies – Bugs, Bombs and Bioaccumulation
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Video (Duration: 5m 19s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Insects are everywhere, on everything, in everything — which makes them a terrific first line of detection for biological weapons attack. Bugs sample the environment thoroughly — if it’s out there, it’s on the insects. Spectrometry, PCR and genetic analysis turn them into weapons against bioterrorrism.
Other Life Science Emphases: Bioterrorism

Honeybees

The Case of the Bad Hives – Genetically Engineered Honeybees
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MPEG
MP4
Video (Duration: 9m 33s)
Lesson plan (Classroom tested lesson): MS Word (doc) | Adobe PDF (pdf)
Dogs aside, you might consider the honeybee man’s best friend. Not only does it produce honey and wax but it also pollinates fruits and vegetables. However, the honeybee is in grave danger from something called foulbrood disease, as well as a dozen other pathogens and parasites. Should this insect succumb, the loss to American agriculture would be catastrophic. Scientists at the USDA are fighting to save the honeybee by mapping its genome, and they are closing in on certain disease-resistant genes. A genetically engineered, disease-resistant honeybee would certainly cause a buzz …
Other Life Science Emphases: Parasite control/pollination