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Calculating Lifetime Cancer Risk Resulting from DNA Replication

Author(s): Rebecca Orr1, Ruth Buskirk2, Kristin Harvey2

1. Collin College 2. University of Texas at Austin

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An expanded case study adapted from an HHMI Data Point on Cell Division and Cancer Risk using Figure 1 from Tomasetti, C. and Vogelstein, B. (2015).

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0.0 - published on 18 Jan 2018 doi:10.25334/Q47H6Z - cite this

Adapted from: Cell Division and Cancer Risk Data Point v 1.0


Student interest in cancer as a topic of study and discussion is high, as most students can closely identify with the impact of cancer on an individual and their loved ones. DNA replication and repair is a topic essential to understanding reproduction and is foundational to students' understanding of gene expression. This module seeks to address two distinct learning goals, one that is content-based and one that is develops quantitative competency in freshman biology students.


Learning Goals for "Calculating Lifetime Cancer Risk Resulting from DNA Replication"

  1. To give students context for the importance of high fidelity DNA repair by capitalizing on their inherent interest in cancer and curiosity as to what causes cancer.
  2. To develop students' science process skills by teaching experimental design as well as developing skills in scientific notation, relationships between two variables in a scatter plot, and correlation between variables.

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