Building a Paper Model of CRISPR-Cas9
In this hands-on activity, students build a paper model to explore how CRISPR-Cas9 is used to edit genes.
CRISPR-Cas9, commonly referred to as just CRISPR, is often mentioned in the news for its potential to treat genetic diseases. In this activity, students explore and learn about this biotechnology tool by building a two-dimensional paper model of the CRISPR system. They then apply their knowledge of complementary base pairing to model how CRISPR targets specific DNA sequences. Students are asked to compare their paper model to an online three-dimensional model. In an optional extension, students watch and reflect on videos of scientists explaining how they use CRISPR in their research.
Student Learning Targets
- Apply knowledge of DNA structure, function, and base pairing to describe how CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to inactivate and edit genes.
- Compare two different models of a biological process.
- Explore different types of research projects that apply CRISPR-Cas9 technology (extension).
base pairing, complementary sequence, DNA repair, gene editing, gene inactivation, gene knockout, guide RNA, homology-directed repair (HDR), nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), nuclease
Ma, Hong, Nuria Marti-Gutierrez, Sang-Wook Park, Jun Wu, Yeonmi Lee, Keiichiro Suzuki, Amy Koski, et al. “Correction of a pathogenic gene mutation in human embryos.” Nature 548, 7668 (2017): 413–419. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23305.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-2; SEP2
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.L, IST-1.N, IST-1.P, IST-2.E, IST-4.A; SP2
IB Biology (2016)
2.6, 3.5, 7.2, B.4
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC2, CC3; DP3