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Genetics/Biotechnology Theme Page

This "Theme Page" has links to two types of resources related to the study of genetics/biotechnology. Students and teachers will find curricular resources (information, content...) to help them learn about this topic. In addition, there are also links to instructional materials (lesson plans) which will help teachers provide instruction in this theme. Please read our disclaimer.

Access Excellence
Designed for high school biology teachers, this site has tons of information about genetics - articles, lessons, projects, activities, etc. The trick will be in finding what you want. Try their search engine and be prepared to do a lot of browsing.

Ask Eric Lesson Plan Collection
Use the search engine to find about 10 genetics lesson plans.

BioDesigns, Incorporated
In this 5-10 period web quest teaching unit, senior high students need to invent a genetically engineered product and then write a report answering a series of questions about their hypothetical new product (e.g., how they did it, how it impacts on the plant/animal's habitat and life systems, how it affects the environment, etc. ). Starting points for their web research are provided and a teacher's guide is included.

[The] Biology Project
A wide range of tutorials and online problem sets designed for high school and university biology students by the University of Arizona. Content in genetics is covered in three sections: Human Biology, Mendelian Genetics, and Molecular Biology.

Breaking the Code
In this lesson plan, grade 4-6 students will be introduced to the concept of DNA and learn about its transcription into RNA and translation into proteins.

Diving into the Gene Pool
This exhibit from the Exploratorium in San Francisco covers information in five broad areas: (1) DNA (2) Genetic relationships that link humans to all animals and plants (3) Tools for decoding DNA (4) Sex and inheritance (5) Points of view

DNA: The Instruction Manual for All Life
Students can take an interactive tour where they learn about DNA, its structure, composition, and location within human cells.

DNA for Dinner
In this web quest, students use the web to research their answer to the question: "Should genetically engineered food crops be specially labelled for consumers and why?" Classroom activities include drafting a law to address the labelling of such food and debating the issue.

DNA from the Beginning
This is one of several fine genetics sites by the Dolan DNA Learning Center , Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. It brings the full spectrum of web technologies to bear on DNA and genetics. The result is visual genetics, easier for school students to learn.

Genes at Work
Grade 9-12 students use a Web site that is a companion piece to a three part PBS series from wNetStation (a public television station in New York) to investigate how dominant traits, genes, and DNA determine the physical characteristics of a subject. Through the lesson, students will chart the genetic characteristics of two sets of parents and answer questions about the potential genetic makeup of their progeny. Student and teacher guides are included.

[The] Gene School
A ThinkQuest project by 3 high school students, this site has general information about genetics including its history, a section on "applications" where students can discover how genetics is used in everyday life, and a variety of interactive activities including lab experiements, polls, quizzes and games.

Genetics Education Center
Explore this meta-list site on Genetics starting at its home page (above) or go directly to some of its specific pages (below).

Geology Labs On-line
'Virtual FlyLab allows you play the role of a research geneticist. It is an educational application for learning the principles of genetic inheritance. You design matings between female and male fruit flies carrying one or a few genetic mutations. After selecting the mutations for the two parent flies and clicking the "Mate" button, you will be returned a document containing the images of the parent and offspring flies. Virtual FlyLab will apply the correct rules of genetic inheritance to these mutations to obtain the offspring. It is your job to determine these rules based on the "experimental" results.'

How Do We Inherit Our Biological Charactistics
Shelly Peretz of Thornridge High School created this web site as a "command post" for her students' exploration of human genetic disease. Students pick an assignment from 8 topics (Cystic Fibrosis, Marfan Syndrome, Huntington's Disease, Breast Cancer, Fragile X Syndrome, Hemophilia, Tourette Syndrome, Sickle Cell Anemia), read an introduction to the disease, and then work through a series of web links to learn more about the disease.

Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project is a 15-year effort to identify all the estimated 80,000 genes in human DNA, to determine the sequences of the 3 billion chemical bases that make up human DNA, store this information in databases, and develop tools for data analysis. Check out their basic information section for genetics FAQs, a primer on molecular genetics, genetics terms, and more. The section for teachers has research abstracts and teaching materials.

"MendelWeb is an educational resource for teachers and students interested in the origins of classical genetics, introductory data analysis, elementary plant science, and the history and literature of science."

Morgan: A Genetics Tutorial
Morgan is a tutorial on genetics delivered through a multimedia format. It is a simplified presentation of basic genetic principles appropriate for an advanced high school class. (Netscape 3.0 highly recommended; plugins will be needed.)

[The] Natural History of Genes
Here's a genetic science curriculum with hands-on activities and projects designed for K-12 students. Topics include disease genetics, conservation genetics, human diversity, forensics and DNA.

New York Times Learning Network
In these lesson plans, grade 6-12 students use a New York Times article as a starting point for their explorations.
  • Cloning Around "Students review the concepts of cloning and genetic engineering and participate in a round-table discussion based on the ethics and potential of cloning. Each student then writes either an expository or persuasive essay on a topic stemming from the cloning debate, including information from an interview conducted with a 'specialist' on the selected topic to support the thesis of the essay. "
  • Cracking the Genetic Code "Students investigate different purposes for which scientists and others use and manipulate DNA. After reviewing the structure and functions of DNA, students work in small groups to explore topics related to the use or manipulation of DNA and the potential benefits and problems of working with DNA in these ways."
  • Diving into Iceland's Genetic Pool "Students investigate the ethical issues surrounding the Decode project in Iceland. As the main class activity, students will take the positions of the Icelandic government, scientific researchers, and citizens and defend or refute the Decode project in a Reykjavik town hall meeting."

Practical Protocols: Practical Investigations for the School Laboratory
The National Centre for Biotechnology Education provides lab activities in downloadable PDF files.

Primer on Molecular Genetics
Topics in this primer include: DNA, Genes, Chromosomes, Mapping and Sequencing the Human Genome, Physical Maps, Chromosomal map, High-Resolution Physical Mapping, Contig maps: Bottom-up mapping, and many more.

Smile Program Biology Index
Teachers participating in the SMILE (Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement) summer session programs each create a single concept lesson plan. This database has 10 lessons in their section on Genetics. Caution: Since there is a wide number of authors who have contributed to the database, the detail and quality of the lesson plans will vary.

Virtual Bacterial ID Lab
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute provides this Shockwave simulation of a DNA sequencing lab. Students use the latest techniques and a real online medical database to identify an unknown bacterium, from a snippet of its ribosomal DNA.

Where did You Get Those Ears?
This lesson plan is intended for high school students who role play as parents to follow their own, and some hidden lethal traits, through meiosis and fertilization to the production of an imaginary child. Learning activities also include the development of their child's physical description and the composition of a set of questions to a fictional genetics counsellor on any lethal disorders that their child may have inherited.

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Note: The sites listed above will serve as a source of curricular content in Genetics/Biotechnology. For other resources in Science (e.g., curricular content in Earth Science, General Science, Life Science, or Physical Science), or for lesson plans and theme pages, click the "previous screen" button below. Or, click here if you wish to return directly to the CLN menu which will give you access to educational resources in all of our subjects.n the "Previous Page" button below to go to our collection of educational resources.

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