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AFNR biotechnology

What are the current issues in biotechnology?
There is a lot of resistance to genetic modification and the use of genetically modified crops. What is the science? This unit helps to provide some background in cell function and DNA properties, helping students to understand how genetic modification can make a difference. The developments in biotechnology are highlighted and students create a marketing campaign for GMO’s. See teacher background →


# Outline and objectives

Teacher information about the unit.


# How is a cell like a …?

Students study cell parts and cell function, then create a cell analogy.


# What is the outcome?

Students use Punnett squares to predict offspring crosses, then create a fictional animal.


# Is there DNA in there?

Students complete a DNA extraction from strawberries.


# GMOs: Where we started and where we are now

Students research developments in DNA technology, (lesson plan developed and supplied by the United Soybean Board/soy checkoff) and use scientifically supported benefits of GMO’s to create an ad campaign to promote them.


# What can I be in biotech?

Students research information on Biotech-related careers and present to peers.


Teacher background

In order to understand the complexity of genetic modification and the variety of jobs in biotechnology, students must have some background knowledge of cell biology and DNA. Cells have a variety of functions and house many organelles. Cells are specialized in multicellular organisms in order to carry out complex functions essential for life. The constant in all cells is DNA. DNA is a molecule in the shape of a double helix, which controls all cellular functions within a cell and in the organism. All life is a result of the recombination of DNA, and the genes coded on each strand, either through mitosis, where mutation determines variation, or meiosis where recombination is the primary determiner of variation. Humans have manipulated DNA throughout history by choosing organisms with favorable traits. As biotechnology has advanced, and genomes have been mapped, humans have found other ways to manipulate singular genes and insert those genes into different organisms to make medicines, vaccines, and to help them resist pests, or other environmental pressures.

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Next gen science standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting concepts

  • Structure and function

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • LS1A Structure and Function
  • LS1C Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms
  • LS3B Variations of traits
  • LS4D Biodiversity and humans

Curriculum authors