A Tale of Two Mao Genes

Excerpts from a science education project by Dr. Jean Chen Shih and The Labyrinth Project (DVD-ROM)

Director: Kristy H.A. Kang
Executive Producers: Marsha Kinder & Jean Chen Shih
Interface Design & Programming: Rosemary Comella
Animation: Debra Isaac & Aaron Biscombe
(see full production credits)

This interactive science visualization project contains six hours of compelling multimedia material designed for diverse audiences–from K-12 to Graduate school, from science majors to the general public.  It focuses on Dr. Jean Chen Shih’s thirty years of pioneering molecular research on a crucial pair of brain enzymes, known as the MAO A and MAO B genes (monoamine oxidase) that help control aggression and anxiety.  Her work provided the first tangible evidence for a biological basis of aggressive behavior.  Besides addressing the latest advances in molecular biology and in the human genome project, this multimedia presentation also treats the interplay between biology and culture and ethical questions in science (concerning stem cell research and cloning, the use of laboratory animals, and unequal access to drugs and treatment). By documenting the exciting discoveries of Dr. Shih and her colleagues and by presenting interviews with several scientists explaining how they became interested in biology and describing what they have achieved, this project also encourages youngsters to choose science as a career.  In addition, a Mandarin version of this project is being used as a model for interactive science education projects in China and Taiwan.