CRISPR gene editing for middle school students

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Will Shindel teaches a gene-editing class using the CRISPR tool at a Brooklyn community lab called Genspace. Credit: Alan Yu/WHYY.

On a Saturday afternoon, 10 students gather at Genspace, a community lab in Brooklyn, to learn how to edit genes.

There’s a recent graduate with a master’s in plant biology, a high school student who started a synthetic biology club, a medical student, an eighth grader, and someone who works in pharmaceutical advertising.

“This is so cool to learn about; I hadn’t studied biology since like ninth grade,” says Ruthie Nachmany, one of the class participants.

Some compare that democratization of personal computing in the ’70s to the current changes in access to genetic engineering tools.

Genspace lab manager Will Shindel, who teaches the genome-editing class, says his students are usually professionals who want to learn a new career skill or curious everyday people.

[T]he University of Pennsylvania’s Orkan Telhan argues, genetic engineering will become an increasingly important skill, like coding has been.

“Biology is the newest technology that people need to learn,” Telhan says. “It’s a new skill set everyone should learn because it changes the way you manufacture things, it changes the way we learn, store information, think about the world.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: How A Gene Editing Tool Went From Labs To A Middle-School Classroom