EDUCATION: The World of DNA

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5649.1305b

DNA—it's not just for molecular biologists anymore. The double helix can help free the wrongfully convicted, trace the wanderings of our globetrotting species, and clarify our evolutionary kinship with the apes. Hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, DNA Interactive is a snazzy primer on the structure, function, and uses of DNA designed for high school and lower-level college students.

The site uses plentiful graphics to draw students in. The timeline of key discoveries, for example, features minibiographies of DNA virtuosos jazzed up with animations and video interviews. The applications section explores topics such as how understanding cell division helped researchers design the antileukemia drug Gleevec. Students can also learn how DNA testing clarified the fate of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family, who were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918. In the 1990s, DNA fingerprinting debunked a woman's claim to be Anastasia, the tsar's youngest daughter, and established that bones discovered in Siberia belonged to members of the family.

http://www.dnai.org/

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