IMAGES: How to Change a Broken Gene

Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 635
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5607.635c

With gene therapy in the headlines again, teachers might be looking for a simple explanation of this promising but troubled technique. Although created for high school students, this collection of animations from the Indiana University School of Medicine is also suitable for lower-division college classes. The shorts walk students through the steps in gene therapy, such as loading refurbished genes into a virus and delivering them to their targets in the body. Above, a virus snuggles up to a cell before injecting a curative gene.

Another clip explains a protocol for using a mouse retrovirus to treat Fanconi anemia, an inherited deficiency of blood cells. Students can also explore the workhorses of the molecular biology lab, such as electrophoresis, PCR, and flow cytometry, which researchers use to measure and sort cells.∼wellsctr/MMIA/htm/animations.htm

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