Development of interactive programs for learning genetics

Yifan Cai, Purdue University


Genetics is a basic science, providing the foundation for major biotechnological applications in medicine, agriculture, and other interdisciplinary fields. However, the abstract nature of genetic concepts, as well as the intricate molecular structures and biochemical processes associated with the concepts, makes understanding genetics difficult. Traditionally, genetics, like most science courses, is taught with classroom lectures, textbooks, homework assignments, and laboratory exercises. Recent advances in computer technologies have benefited all phases in modern society. In education, for example, the use of graphic simulations for abstract/difficult processes and online teaching are widely implemented as supplementary tools to traditional teaching. The goal of the thesis is to develop interactive software programs to help students learn the fundamental concept in genetics. Due to many basic common features in these programs, a framework "CytoGene2D" was developed to standardize and accelerate the development stage. The framework was designed for the ease of managing, extending, and upgrading. For applications, two practical interactive programs were developed based on the new framework for learning two genetic concepts: one on gene regulation and the other on DNA transposition. The programs include graphic presentation, animation, and interaction with users for learning and understanding the subject. These two modules are suitable for college education in genetics as well as for advanced high school students who are interested in this field.




Yang, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Computer Engineering

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