An educational module is described in which first-year medical students were assigned different entries from the 1983 edition of McKusick's Mendelian Inheritance in Man to revise and update. Following review and discussion in small group sections, the entries were reproduced to provide each student with an updated compendium of the selected genetic disorders. The important principles of Mendelian inheritance could be readily illustrated by the entities assigned to each discussion group. Students learned to use the library and how to understand and integrate clinical and experimental papers. More than half the students reported spending 11-20 h to complete the assignment and reviewed from six to ten articles in detail. The caliber of the entries was found to be significantly correlated with the time students reported they spend on the exercise, but not with the number of papers reviewed, prior knowledge of the disease entity, the frequency of dictionary usage, or undergraduate exposure to genetics.
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