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Making history

Teacher Ambassador Barbara Algarin

Barbara Algarin was a chemistry major who also tutored other students in chemistry while in college and afterwards. “I had always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but I felt I was good at helping others in school. Then my mom mentioned that New York City was looking for people to become teachers,” she explains. Feeling at a crossroads and wanting a change, Barbara applied for a New York City Teaching Fellowship, a program that prepares applicants to teach high-needs subjects such as science in New York City classrooms. The first time she applied, they lost her application. She persisted, and applied again the following year and was accepted.

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Dragon genes and M&M’s: Middle school students at summer camp

Students playing Geniventure.

How do dragons inherit wings and horns? What role do proteins play in dragons with translucent white scales? During a weeklong summer “camp” in Maynard, Massachusetts, designed for middle school students interested in online gaming and genetics, nine students in grades 6-8 played Geniventure to find out. They also applied genetics concepts to solve puzzles, […]

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UMass Amherst students contribute to dragon genome project

Can dragons get cancer? Students in Dr. Ludmila Tyler’s Biochemistry Molecular Genetics and Genomics course at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst asked this question last semester. As part of their course work, they used our Geniverse software to study dragon genetics and develop new genes, mutant alleles, and phenotypes based on investigations of scientific literature. […]

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Dashboard helps teachers understand student progress and performance in genetics game

Our dragon genetics games have engaged thousands of students for many years. In that time, teachers have asked for an easy way to track their students’ progress and performance. Until now, teacher reports have been difficult to pull out of our system and impossible to parse in real time. The GeniGUIDE project, in partnership with […]

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Designer dragons? Talking to students about the ethical implications of editing DNA

University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, Flickr (CC-BY-2.0) A breakthrough in medical research has allowed a team of scientists to edit the DNA of human embryos to repair a version of a gene that causes cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease resulting in heart failure. While some see this genome editing technology—known as CRISPR—as a […]

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Virtual CRISPR-like techniques engage students in editing dragon DNA

The CRISPR gene editing technique is faster, cheaper, and more accurate than past methods of editing DNA. And it’s creating a huge buzz in the world of science and medical research. By precisely removing, adding, or altering part of the genome, CRISPR enables geneticists to target and edit genes that are associated with genetic diseases—without […]

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Why dragons?

Breeding virtual dragons is all in a day’s work in biology classrooms using Geniverse, our free, web-based genetics software. Although Geniverse is a game-like environment, it’s far more than child’s play. Indeed, students dive into genetics on a quest to heal a beloved dragon. Students use a model species (drakes) to explore the fundamental mechanisms […]

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The real genes of Geniverse

Did you know that while dragons and their model species drakes are fictional and fanciful, the genetics of these virtual Geniverse creatures is based firmly on the real-world genetics of model organisms? The drake genes and traits have been carefully compiled from the actual genes and associated traits of the anole lizard, mouse, fruit fly, […]

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