Polygence blog / Research Opportunities and Ideas

Top 5 Ways to Learn About Gene Editing as a High School Student

6 minute read

Biology has undergone a remarkable change—transforming what we once thought of as science fiction into scientific fact. Our genetic code, which was believed to be a sacred, unchangeable text for centuries, can now be edited (almost) as easily as a document in a word processor. Gene editing is an innovative technology that has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of life itself and is an invaluable tool to alter all facets of biology. The ability to precisely modify DNA sequences has far-reaching implications, from curing genetic diseases to ensuring agricultural success for future generations.

This article will explore the top five ways you can learn about gene editing. Although the subject may seem challenging, we are here to simplify it and make it accessible for everyone who wants to explore this incredible field. In this article, we want to help you get started in the world of gene editing by providing you with the necessary knowledge and resources. Gene editing may seem complex, but with enthusiasm and curiosity, you can easily approach this field. We have prepared a comprehensive guide that outlines the top five ways to start your gene editing education journey. You can take classes, explore internships, read books, engage with multimedia content, and get social to find the best pathway that suits your interests as an aspiring gene editing enthusiast.

Understanding Gene Editing

Before exploring the different ways to learn about gene editing, it is crucial to establish a foundational understanding of the basics of gene editing. You can imagine gene editing as a pair of molecular scissors that can cut into specific DNA sections. Gene editing can cut into the DNA to inactivate or remove dangerous DNA sections. Suppose you introduce a template DNA sequence to guide the repair process. In that case, it is possible to influence changes in the genetic code, which is the real power of gene editing. Armed with this fundamental knowledge of gene editing, let's delve into the top five ways to enhance your understanding of this captivating field.

1. Take a class

One of the most structured and effective ways to learn about gene editing is by enrolling in a class. Universities, museums, and scientific organizations often offer courses and seminars focused on gene editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9. These classes provide:

  • A solid foundation for beginners and experts alike

  • Structured curriculum to understand gene editing principles

  • Overview of gene editing techniques

  • Discussion around ethical considerations

Enrolling in a class is a great chance to connect with individuals who share your passion for gene editing. This can help you build a network in the industry, which may open the doors to research collaborations and career opportunities. Whether you're a student exploring biotechnology as a future career or a lifelong learner fascinated by this innovative science, taking a class is a fantastic first step.

If you're looking for a great place to begin with relevant classes, Polygence offers a 6-week course on gene editing and its use in healthcare that can get you started!

2. Pursue internships 

For those seeking hands-on experience in gene editing, internships offer a valuable opportunity to work in academic laboratories or biotech companies. Internships provide a unique opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world experiments and contribute to ongoing research projects. The hands-on experience gained during internships can be instrumental in gaining a deeper understanding of gene editing techniques and laboratory protocols.

If you're not ready to dive headfirst into the lab, doing a research project with Polygence is the perfect way to dip your toe into CRISPR-related research without getting your hands dirty. Projects like genetic engineering as an effective cancer therapy, gene therapy for Lynch syndrome, and CRISPR-based therapeutic targeting of ADHD show how working with Polygence can be a transformative experience, offering exposure to cutting-edge technology and expert guidance.

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3. Read the literature

If you prefer a more self-paced approach to learning, exploring literature on gene editing can be immensely rewarding. While the primary scientific literature may be too advanced for beginners, many books provide accessible and engaging work on gene editing that's accessible to beginners.

Here are some recommended books for those looking to start their gene editing journey:

  • "The Code Breaker" by Walter Isaacson

  • "A Crack in Creation" by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg

  • "CRISPR People" by Henry T. Greely

These books offer insights into the history and science of gene editing and discuss the ethical and societal implications of this groundbreaking technology. 

4. Tune in

If reading isn't your preferred medium, don't worry. We have you covered. There are plenty of podcasts and videos you can use to explore CRISPR and related gene editing technologies. 

For podcasts, there are some excellent options to leave from experts in the field. Here are some great places to start:

  • The CRISPR Podcast

  • The Gene Editing Podcast

  • Mendel's Pod

Additionally, documentaries and movies like "Human Nature," "Unnatural Selection," and "CRISPR: The Future of Gene Editing" offer visual perspectives on gene editing's potential impact.

5. Get social

In today's interconnected world, social media has become a powerful tool for staying current on the latest developments in gene editing. Many scientists, researchers, and science journalists actively share insights, research findings, and discussions on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

An easy (and fun!) way to engage with thought leaders and experts in the field is to follow them on social media. This will give you a firsthand look at the cutting-edge advancements in gene editing, and engaging in discussions, asking questions, and participating in online communities dedicated to gene editing can help you build a broad network of others who share your passion for gene editing.

Welcome To Your Role in the Gene Editing Revolution

In conclusion, the world of gene editing is nothing short of revolutionary, but it doesn't have to be intimidating. With the resources and pathways outlined in this article, you are well-positioned to embark on a journey of discovery into the captivating realm of gene editing. This transformative technology holds the potential to change our world in unprecedented ways, from curing genetic diseases to advancing our understanding of life on this planet.

Whether you choose to take a structured class, pursue hands-on internships, dive into the literature, or engage with experts on social media, remember that gene editing is a dynamic field where learning is a lifelong journey. As you explore these top five ways to learn about gene editing, you'll acquire knowledge and become part of a global community of enthusiasts dedicated to shaping the future through genetic innovation. 

Embrace this exciting adventure, and who knows, you might be the one to make the next groundbreaking discovery in gene editing!

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