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Project title Describe How Cells Duplicate and Why & Where Something Can Go Wrong
Difficulty Level High school
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Cells are the basic unit of function and structure in living things. After students have learned cell parts and organization, they are introduced to cell division. Understanding the role of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and how and why it must replicate, is essential to comprehending how our genetic patterns are transmitted to new cells. Constructing a three-dimensional model of the DNA molecule enhances the students' discernment. Genes are the small heredity units on chromosomes and are made of DNA molecules. Before a cell divides, the DNA must replicate so that the two new cells will each have the organism's genetic code. If foreign materials invade the cell while the DNA is duplicating, they may be incorporated into the molecule. If these miscoded cells are not killed by the body's own defense systems, they will multiply and could take over, disrupting the cell's normal activities or dividing rapidly and erratically, crowding out the normal cells. It is important to understand the construction of the DNA molecules; how and why they divide; how good nutrition and personal habits can help maintain the genetic code.  
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