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Summer SAVY 2017, Session 2/Day 4- Genetic Epidemiology (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Thursday, June 22, 2017 in SAVY.

Today in genetic epidemiology we talked about molecular methods in genetics. We discussed how it is important that we take our discoveries beyond the computational and statistical approaches we have learned thus far and begin to understand how genes and mutations function in real life scenarios.

We started the day by extracting DNA from our cheek cells. Tuesday during our field trip, we saw the big fancy robots (that cost as much as a house!) that do this in Vanderbilt’s genotyping and sequencing core. Today we learned exactly what those robots are doing, and how simple the process actually is. We also learned about PCR – a process that makes millions of copies of a given DNA sequence – and how it is used in research.

This afternoon, we were visited by one of my graduate school professors, who told us how he uses mouse models to study when, where, and how genes are expressed in cells. He brought along several stained mouse embryos that we were able to view under a microscope. We closed out the afternoon by reading and discussing several papers that described how these molecular tools are being used in research and the clinic. We also discussed some controversial new methods like genome editing and three parent babies. If you’re interested in some of the articles we read, I’ve included the links below.

I can’t believe tomorrow is my last day with these wonderful students. In case I don’t get a chance to say it tomorrow, every single one of these students has been an absolute joy to have in class. If any of your children are interested in learning more about genetics, I highly recommend There are a lot of really great resources and interactive activities that teach them all about genetics.

Here are the articles we read:

Dr. Jones