• RNA VirtuaLab Game

    Play the role of a molecular engineer by solving RNA folding puzzles in this interactive game from the NOVA RNA Lab. Then take your skills to Eterna, where you can design RNAs that could be at the heart of future life-saving therapies.

    Grades: 6-12
  • NOVA RNA Lab Lesson Plan

    Students learn how molecular shape determines RNA function and explore how RNA is central to life in this media-rich lesson plan from NOVA Labs. The lesson begins with a class discussion about the similarities and differences between RNA and DNA. Students then use the NOVA RNA VirtuaLab game (requires the Flash player plug-in to be installed on computers or a Web browser that supports Flash, such as Chrome) to explore the diverse functions that RNA performs in the cell. In the game, students play the role of a molecular engineer by completing RNA folding puzzles and building RNA molecules out of nucleotides. They conclude the lesson with video quizzes that review the content from the game.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The RNA Enigma

    Learn about the versatility of RNA in this video from NOVA’s RNA Lab. Animations explore the differences between RNA and DNA and illustrate examples of functions that RNA can perform. As new folding patterns are discovered, RNA could be used to prevent diseases such as cancer or HIV. In addition, an overview of the RNA Lab shows how users can help scientists by desigining RNA molecules that fold into specific shapes.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Protein Synthesis

    Learn how RNA and proteins are created in this video from NOVA’s RNA Lab. Cells contain an amazing factory that builds RNA along with protein machines that keep organisms alive. Animations demonstrate the processes of transcription and translation and illustrate the relationships among DNA, RNA, and proteins.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The RNA Origin of Life

    Learn how life likely evolved from RNA in this video from NOVA’s RNA Lab. According to the RNA world hypothesis, RNA may have been the origin of life on Earth. Animations illustrate the functions of RNA, DNA, and proteins; describe the RNA world hypothesis; and demonstrate the evolution of the various molecules.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Virus Wars

    Learn how cells protect against viruses using RNA interference in this video from NOVA’s RNA Lab. All cellular life is in an ancient and unending war with viruses. RNA intereference (RNAi) is one of the ways that cells fight back. Animations show how viruses attack cells, how RNAi works, and how scientists may be able to harness the power of RNAi.

    Grades: 6-12

Funder: Biogen Foundation 2015 color