The Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC), an operating unit of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, is devoted to public genetics education with a particular focus on college and pre-college students. The DNALC Web site provides extensive information related to the Centers role and mission as well as incorporates annotated lists of valuable links to a variety of well-established and reputable national (Chicago-Sun Times, Seattle Times) and international (BBC) Web sites. These links appear to change on a regular basis as new issues and stories related to genetics arise. Information about upcoming workshop and training opportunities for college and pre-college educators is also included.
Although the background and current event information available at DNALC is both accurate and up-to-date, it is the presence of the five "companion" sites that are incorporated into the DNA Learning Center that make this Web site a worthwhile destination.
"Your Genes, Your Health" provides extensive descriptive information related to a number of different genetic disorders including Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis, and Huntington Disease. "DNA from the Beginning" incorporates a series of progressive multimedia lessons outlining central concepts related to the science of genetics. "Eugenics Image Archive" provides an historical perspective of the American Eugenics movement of the early 20th century. The archive includes reports, articles, charts, and pedigrees taken from the archives of the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, which was the center of American eugenics research from 1910-1940. The archive's purpose is to provide a documentary record of the Eugenics Movement, and thus, controversial content has purposely been included in the site. "Genetic Origins" provides background information and instructions for experiments designed to allow students to use their own DNA "fingerprints" to study human evolution. The experiments rely on both biochemical methods and computer tools. Finally, "Bioservers" provides an area from which both students and educators can begin DNA database searches, statistical analyses, and population modelling through the Internet.
Each of these companion sites is innovative in its approach and presentation. It is important to note however, that some of the content, such as that which is incorporated into "Your Genes, Your Health" and "DNA from the Beginning," resembles the information found in basic and advanced genetics textbooks. In contrast, the other sites, particularly the "Eugenic Image Archive," provide extensive access to valuable primary and secondary source material that clearly would serve as useful additions to any library.