Curriculum & Resources

Foundations of Biotech

Foundations of Biotech Cover Image

The Foundations of Biotech labs were created to introduce students to biotech techniques and concepts; in these labs, students explore recombinant DNA technology.

Sequences of these labs were designed to give options to teachers based on their available time and resources. Sequence options are listed below.


View the entire Foundations of Biotech package of materials (all of the below sequences are included):

Graphic of the Foundations of Biotech lab sequences: Downloadable PDF | Interactive

Big Idea Foundations of Biotech graphic all sequences


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MiniPrep Documents


Complete Genetic Engineering Sequence (18–20 class sessions)

In the Complete Genetic Engineering Sequence, students explore how to use recombinant DNA techniques to introduce new genes into an organism and have that organism produce new proteins. In this sequence, students create a recombinant plasmid with a red fluorescent protein gene from a sea anemone. They then transform Escherichia coli (E. coli) with the plasmid. The process is analogous to the process used to produce human therapeutic protein proteins, such as insulin or human growth hormone.

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Abridged Genetic Engineering Sequence (16–18 class sessions)

The Abridged Genetic Engineering Sequence is identical to the Complete Genetic Engineering Sequence except that students are provided with the recombinant plasmid rather than creating it themselves.

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Focus on Bacteria Sequence (12–14 class sessions)

The Focus on Bacteria Sequence allows students to complete the process of bacterial transformation. In this sequence, students are provided with the plasmid that they use to transform the bacteria and do not complete the confirmation steps.

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Introduction to Biotechnology Sequence (4–5 class sessions)

In the Introduction to Biotechnology Sequence, students read about the genetic engineering process and learn how to use basic biotechnology lab tools. By completing this sequence, students learn that specific tools are used in recombinant DNA techniques.

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Extension: Colony PCR (1–2 class sessions)

In this extension lab, students sample a colony from one of their plates and perform PCR on it to confirm the presence of the desired plasmid.

Extension: Gel Electrophoresis Troubleshooting (3 class sessions)

In Foundations of Biotech, students use gel electrophoresis to verify ligation and proper insertion of a gene into a plasmid. However, some students have problems with their gels when using GelGreen: the larger DNA bands exhibit inconsistent migration through the gel. In this extension lab, students develop their own experiments to explore why this inconsistent DNA migration happens and what can be done to correct it.

Class sessions


Resource Type
Teaching Materials
Appropriate Ages
Upper Secondary
Resource Topic
Biotech & Medicine
Human Disease
Biotech & Society
Race & Genetics
Lab Safety
Lab Techniques
Column Chromatography
Gel Electrophoresis
Gene Editing
Gene Sequencing
Restriction Enzyme
Teaching and Learning
Workforce Preparation