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         My assigned genetic disorder is               Scoliosis

In order to summarize your knowledge of cells, cell division, genetics, DNA, and
proteins, you are being assigned a genetic disorder to research. Genetic disorders
are caused by changes to DNA. These changes are either really small and involve
only one tiny piece of DNA or really large and result in an entire missing
chromosome. Either way, the affect on how someone lives their life can be
dramatic. Additionally, some genetic disorders mean that a person may require
someone to care for them their entire life.

It is your goal to learn more about the genetic disorder to which you have been
assigned. You will be performing this research in segments beginning with basic
background information regarding the symptoms of the disease. By periodically
working on learning about this disorder, you will have less work to do for the final

What is the final project? Rather than write a traditional research paper, we are
asking that you create a PowerPoint presentation that you or I will show the class
about your assigned genetic disorder. Your audience for this brochure is either
someone who has just been diagnosed as having this genetic disorder or someone
who is the parent or child of someone who has been diagnosed.


   1.   What are some of the symptoms of your assigned genetic disorder? Answer
        in complete sentences. Be sure to attach a copy of your references to the
        research packet.
         A curved spine in a “c” or “s” shape.

        My assigned genetic disorder is             Scoliosis

Answer in complete sentences. Be sure to attach a copy of your references to
the research packet.


   1.     How common is this disorder?

Three in every one hundred people have scoliosis.

   2.   How long do people usually live with this disorder? You may want to
   search terms such as “life expectancy”.

        My assigned genetic disorder is           Scoliosis

Answer in complete sentences. Be sure to attach a copy of your references to
the research packet.


Whenever you are sick, you want to get better as quickly as possible. Who wants to
feel sick, right? Some of the medications such as cough syrup are treatments. In
other words, they treat the symptoms of coughing even though you still have the
flu. Other medications such as vaccines are cures which end the illness – you no
longer have the flu nor will you ever get it again.

Currently, there are no cures for genetic disorders. The cause of any genetic
disorder is that person’s genes. Either an entire chromosome is changed in some
way or only a small part (a gene) is affected. Either way, the only way to cure a
genetic disorder is to fix the chromosome or gene – in every cell in their body!
Remember, there are over 1 trillion cells. There are some disorders for which
there may be a cure soon. For cystic fibrosis, scientists are researching ways of
inserting healthy genes into a person using a method called gene therapy. However,
the use of gene therapy to cure genetic disorders is years away.

   1. Why aren’t there any cures for genetic disorders?

   2. What are the treatments for your assigned genetic disorder?

 Some treatments for Scoliosis are braces or, if the condition becomes severe (40-
50 degree curve in the spine), then you would have to receive some type of surgery
to fix it.

   3. At this point in your research, you now know the symptoms, life
      expectancy, and treatments of this disorder. What would it be like to
      live with this disorder? Write a paragraph that describes what it would
      be like to live with your assigned genetic disorder. You may write your
      paragraph from the perspective of a person living with this disorder or
      someone who is caring for a person who has this disorder.

  1. Define the following terms:

         -   Chromosome Disorder: an abnormal condition dealing with
         abnormality in the chromosomes.

         -   Gene Disorder: condition caused by absent, defective gene(s) or
         another chromosomal defect.

  2. Is your assigned disorder a chromosome disorder or a gene disorder?
     You will probably not find a statement such as “Cystic Fibrosis is a gene
     disorder.” Instead, you may need to decide for yourself based on your

For chromosome disorders only:

         -   Which chromosome is causing this disorder?

         -    How is this chromosome affected? Chromosome disorders are not
         dominant or recessive like gene disorders. Instead, your answer may be
         something like monosomy (a missing chromosome), trisomy (an extra
         chromosome), deletion (large portion of chromosome missing) or addition
         (large portion of chromosome repeated).
For gene disorders only:

          -    What is the name of the gene that is causing this genetic disorder?

          -    Which chromosome is this gene on?

                              Specific Web Sites and Topics
                           Be sure to check out library resources.
      Scoliosis

        General Genetic Web Sites
      Family Village--A comprehensive list of resouces on genetic disorders.
        Very useful!!
      Genetics--Useful sites for information about genetics, genetic disorders
        and genetic counseling.
      A to Z--The search engine for Health issues.
      Yahoo Health-Disease and Conditions--Very extensive list of resources-
        slow to load.

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