High School

Genetics, recombinant DNA technology, microbiology

What are genetically modified organisms and how are they made?  Why purposes do genetically modified organisms serve? Transformation is an activity created by Learning Undefeated to help students explore the process of moving genes from one organism to another using genetic transformation.  Students will learn how plasmids are made, how heat shocking works to bring a plasmid into a cell, and will research the ethics of GMO use.

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Learning Objectives

Students will know

  • What is transformation
  • The use of bacteria as a genetic tool
  • How genes are introduced into other organisms for scientific, agricultural, and medical use

Students will understand

  • How DNA plasmids are introduced into bacteria
  • How genes are regulated
  • How genetic markers are used

Students will be able to

  • Define wild-type vs. mutant phenotypes
  • Locate the different genes on a pGlo plasmid
  • Select for transformed bacteria
  • Analyze the growth of bacteria
  • Calculate the transformation efficiency
Standards Alignments + Connections

Next Generation Science Standards Connections

HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Connections

BIOL.2(E) Plan and implement descriptive, comparative, and experimental investigations, including asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting equipment and technology;

BIOL.6(A) Identify components of DNA, identify how information for specifying the traits of an organism is carried in the DNA, and examine scientific explanations for the origin of DNA

BIOL.6(D) Recognize that gene expression is a regulated process

Louisiana Standards for Science Connections

HS-LS1-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.


Pre Laboratory Engagement

Pre-Laboratory Engagement (45-60 minutes) 

Laboratory Exploration

Laboratory Activity (60-75 minutes)

Post Laboratory Extension

Post-Laboratory Extension (60-75 minutes)

  1. Students write an argumentative essay on the ethics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) using references and proper MLA citations.

Adapted from pGLO Bacterial Transformation Kit, BioRad #166-0003EDU