Silencing Genomes

Wild-type C. elegans

Complete genome sequences are now available for humans and many animals and plants. Ahead lies the daunting challenge of the "post genome" era: to understand the physiological functions of the thousands of new genes for which little is known beyond their sequences.

RNA interference (RNAi) has been heralded as a "revolution," and its discovery in the roundworm C. elegans culminated in the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for American scientists Andrew Fire and Craig Mello. RNAi is a mechanism that down-regulates gene expression when double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules that correspond to part of a “target gene” are present in a cell. By deliberately introducing defined sequences of dsRNA into living organisms, biologists can observe the physiological consequences of "silencing" virtually any gene in C. elegans, as well as other plants and animals.

The Silencing Genomes curriculum introduces high school students to the power of RNAi in the model organism C. elegans. Students learn about the mechanism of RNAi, its biological roles, and its applications in molecular genetics and medicine.

Silencing Genomes is for students who have taken DNA Science and are entering grades 11-12.

Tuition is $575 and includes all materials. The workshop runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday.


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