MINI-SYMPOSIUM ON GENETIC DISORDERS
Grade level/subject: High school biology
What is it?
A symposium is a meeting where participants give oral presentations on subjects
revolving around a common theme. Our mini-symposium is based on the theme of genetic
disorders. Each student will select one disorder from the list, research information
on the disorder, and prepare and deliver a comprehensive, concise, and complete oral
presentation to the class.
Each presentation must be at least three minutes and not more than five minutes in
length. A time for questioning will follow each presentation.
Since you are expected to be an expert on the disorder you choose, you must deliver
your talk WITHOUT reading it. You will be given an index card on which you may jot
down a few TOPICS (not facts). Only one side of the card may be used. You will
have it only as a reminder of what you are going to say, NOT as a list of statements you
are going to make. You may also include any difficult-to-spell terms that you wish
to write on the board. The index card will be passed in as soon as your talk is
What must be included in the presentation?
The presentation should follow the outline below. The questions listed are designed
to provoke thought and to help you determine what is significant and what is not.
They are not to be answered individually as a question and answer session.
- What is the name of the disorder? Are there any other names by which it is commonly
- Mode of inheritance
- All genetic disorders are inherited. There are several different ways in which
they can be inherited. Determine whether your disorder is an autosomal dominant
trait, an autosomal recessive trait, an X-linked recessive trait, a chromosomal error
or a multifactorial trait (polygenic disorder). Chromosomal errors may take several types:
a particular missing chromosome (e.g. a missing X chromosome), an extra chromosome
(e.g. an extra chromosome 21), or a damaged chromosome (e.g. part of a chromosome
deleted). A multifactorial disorder is one which is caused by several genes or by
a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
- Clinical description of the disorder
- What are the features of the disorder? How does it affect the victim? What is
it like to have the disorder? How would you describe the disorder to someone else?
What is the disorder like externally, internally, biochemically, psychologically,
etc. What problems are associated with thedisorder? Is the disorder physically limiting?
Is it life-threatening? Is it invariably fatal? Is it found more commonly in certain
groups of people, such as a particular ethnic or religious group or particular sex?
- Can anything be done for the disorder? Can the basicdefect be treated? Can the
symptoms or results of the disorder be treated? Is there a cure for the disorder?
Is there any gene therapy for the disorder?
- Can the disorder be detected before its symptoms appear? If so, how? Can
it be detected prenatally? If so, how? Is there any way to detect a carrier of
the disorder? If so, how?
How will this activity be graded?
You will receive a letter grade from A to F. The following factors will
be used to determine the grade:
- Accuracy - How accurate was your presentation? Did you give any misinformation?
Did you appear to know the information well? Did you answer questions accurately?
Did you make the effort to insure that all terms were pronounced correctly?
- Following directions - Did you stick to the time limits? Did you make your note
card and use it properly? Did you include all the required information?
- Delivery - Did you speak loudly and clearly? Were you too fast or too slow?
Did you appear confident and poised? Did you have proper eye contact with the class?
Were you enthusiastic? Did you avoid silliness?
- Use of visual aids - Did you use the board/overhead well? Did you useany other
visual aids such as pictures, charts, objects, demonstrations, handouts, etc.
YOUR DISORDER WILL BE SELECTED FROM THE LIST BELOW
- Sickle-Cell Anemia
- Breast cancer
- Edward's Syndrome/Patau's Syndrome
- Turner's Syndrome
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Klinefelter's Syndrome
- G6PD (Glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase) Deficiency
- Cooley's anemia
- Gaucher's disease
- Familial Hypercholesterolemia
- diabetes mellitus
- diabetes insipidus
- Marfan Syndrome
- fragile X syndrome
- Parkinson's disease
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Tay Sachs Disease
- Down Syndrome
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
- Huntington's Disease
- Burkitt lymphoma
- Cri-du-chat Syndrome
- Pituitary dwarfism syndrome
- Immune deficiency diseases (Boy in the
- left Lip/Palate
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta
- Sensorineural deafness
- Spina Bifida/Anencephaly