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Learning Objectives for the unit on Achondroplasia, a dominant genetic disorder that results in dwarfism.

 1. Students will understand the process of growth of long bones, the role of chondrocytes in the growth process. Knowledge and comprehension

  2. Students will understand the principles of Receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and how it affects the expression of target genes in chondrocytes, as well as how this expression affects chondrocyte proliferation. Knowledge and comprehension

3. Students will be able to predict what happens if one of the components of the FGFR3 RTK signaling pathway is acting abnormally, at the molecular level and at the level of chondrocyte proliferation and long bones growth. Application

4. Students will be able to understand how gene targeting in mice is used to understand the effects of mutation in FGFR3 receptor tyrosine kinase. Knowledge, comprehension, and application


a.     understand how gene targeting works

b.     differentiate between knock-out and knock-in, their uses (comprehension)

c.     be able to generate a scheme of a targeting construct that can be used to generate a knock-out or knock-in mouse model (application)

d.     understand the use of marker genes to identify a specific subtype of cells (e.g., proliferating chondrocytes) (comprehension)

5. Students will be able to analyze a research paper that uses gene targeting to study the effect of mutation in FGFR3 on the growth of the long bones in mice.

6. Students will be able to design experiments that utilize gene targeting to investigate the function of a particular gene mutation in a disease


Learning Activities:

1. Lecture

2. Weekly problem sets

3. In-class clicker activities:

a. Individual

b. Discuss with a peer, then vote

4. Weekly discussion sections


Formative Assessments:

Clicker questions

Online quizzes

Short write-ups in discussion sections


Summative Assessments:


Final exam


Learning Objective Taxonomy Level/Category Learning Activities Formative Assessments Summative Assessments

 Students will be able to design an experiment that uses targeting in mice to understand the effects of mutation of genes involved in FGFR3 signaling pathway on the growth of long bones

Application, synthesis


Clicker questions (individual or discuss-with-your-nearest-neighbor, then vote)

Problem sets (ungraded)

Online homeworks

Should be doing: in-class problem-solving activities

Problem sets (ungraded)

Online homeworks

Clicker questions




Final exam






 Students will be able to interpret experimental data from primary research articles, specifically:

- Identify the overall goal of the paper, the "big" question it wanted to answer

-Identify the specific experimental question asked in selected figures from the paper.

- Be able to identify the controls and why these controls are used (what do they control for?)

- Be able to describe and interpret the experimental results

- Be able to draw immediate conclusions from the results: did the experiment answer the question it aimed to answer?

- Identify key conclusions and the experimental data that allowed the authors to reach these conclusions. 


In-class modeling of figure analysis

Independent reading of the paper at home

Online homework, before the discussion of the paper in sections (questions about the paper), graded for effort

Group discussion of specific figures

Whole-section discussion

Post-discussion homework, graded for correct answers 

Online homework pre-discussion 

In-class clicker questions

In-class group problems 


Post-discussion homework, graded for correct answers
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