Genetic engineering is a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cell. Using genetic engineering, desirable traits from one species can be introduced into another species, conferring an advantage to the latter species. In this way, the powerful genetic diversity of all the organisms on the planet can be harnessed.
In the new Genetic Engineering Gizmo, your students are the genetic engineers. Students will learn how to create corn plants that are resistant to insect pests or tolerant of herbicides. Students will start by screening strains of bacteria for a useful gene, then identifying the useful gene in the bacterial genome. Students then choose a promoter that will express the gene in a specific part of a corn plant, insert the gene into a corn plant, and finally, compare the modified corn plant to a control plant in a lab setting.