This site provides users with simple animations accompanied by explanatory text outlining the use of gene therapy in a particular immunodeficiency case study. It includes an animation of gene therapy for the genetic immune deficiency called SCID-X1. Children with this disease have a defective gene. The animation begins with an explanation of the genetic and phenotypic characteristics of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) including the region of mutation within the DNA and the resulting effect on the development of immune responsive cells. The animation provides a simplified portrayal of the theoretical mechanism of gene therapy and its implementation in the treatment of this particular disorder. The animation concludes with a sobering look at the results of the case study and the possible complications that gene therapy may pose. It provides a balanced portrayal of the positive possibilities of gene therapy with the negative risks involved in this relatively new treatment. This is a good site for classroom or individual use.
Students will utilize the animation and accompanying text to learn about gene therapy in the context of a case study.
Target Student Population:
The material presented is appropriate for high school and lower division college classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There are no prerequisites for this site, although some knowledge of simple genetic mechanisms such as replication and cell differentiation may be beneficial.
Type of Material:
The information is presented as simple animations with accompanying text.
The information can be used by students for individual research or by instructors as part of a guided lecture.
This site requires a browser to view HTML/Text and Adobe flash player.
Evaluation and Observation
The textual information is accurate if not a bit simplified
The figures are clearly and accurately labeled
The animations are clear and easy to follow
Site provides good biological and medical information
The depiction of the chromosomes within the cell is not proportional
Some of the figures in the animation are oversimplified
No indication of the success rate of the procedure, or selections done in vitro to indentify cells that have taken up the new gene
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
There is text accompanying the animations which makes it useful for guided lectures
The site provides an excellent example for the application of gene therapy humanizing the laboratory methodology
The site provides stimulation for ethical discussion concerning gene therapy getting students excited and interested in the material
Students can control the pace of the presentation
No learning objectives are provided
Animations are not entirely exciting although they are easy to understand
No follow up assessment or requirements of the students to do anything but passively observe the movie
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The animations are simple to navigate and progression through the animation is completely user controlled
The information was well organized and easy to follow
No defective links or major bugs were found
Loads quickly and easy to navigate
Requires continual confirmation for animation activation
Source code is not available for instructors to make changes