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Genetics and Food Safety

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    Developed by David Vogel of Parkside High School (Salisbury, Maryland) in collaboration with The University of Maryland Eastern Shore with funding provided by the United States Department of Agriculture through an 1890 Capacity Building Project

    Scroll down for links to instructional materials

    Overview: Genetics is the oldest, yet fastest growing science today. For thousands of years, even before written word, man has been selectively breeding crops and animals for desired traits. This involved countless days, nights, months, and years of careful observation, study and hands on experimentation. People knew that there were patterns in the ways that characteristics were passed down from one generation to the next. But it wasn’t until the recent discovery of DNA that scientists started to really understand why. With advances like the discovery of DNA to the Human Genome Project, the past century has increased our knowledge of genetics exponentially. More and more jobs and technologies have risen as a result of this expansion in our understanding of traits and inheritance. The fields of microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry have grown so large that they dominate much current biology curriculum content. Today’s biology topics focus on processes that are often too small to see – even with a microscope. Students have trouble visualizing such subjects. The goal of this unit is to bring back the hands-on investigation; to make learning about the molecules and processes of genetics tangible and real to students. Students will learn about genetics from historical, societal, economical, technological, and even personal perspectives using labs that focus on current issues. From doing labs using modern technology, students will also gain important skills that can be utilized in many careers including biotechnology. By the end of the unit, students will have a solid understanding of the basics of genetics, laws of inheritance, phenotypes and genotypes, as they relate to genetic engineering in a more applicable and tangible field: food safety.

    Instructional Materials: Click the links below to view or download and save the files.

    Files are either Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint
    Unit Overview Genetics Unit Overview (pdf)
    Lesson 1 Lesson Plan 1: Introduction to Food Safety and Genetics (pdf)
    Activity Guide: Food Safety and Genetics (Word)
    Lessons 2 & 3 Lesson Plan 2 and 3 - Corn Genetics (pdf)
    Presentation - Genes and Traits (ppt)
    Genes and Traits Handout (Word)
    Lessons 4 & 5 Lesson Plans 4 and 5: Genetics, People and Health (pdf)
    Germ Food Handout (Word)
    Lesson 6 Lesson Plan 6 - Genetics and People (pdf)
    Presentation - Dominant and Recessive Traits (ppt)
    Traits in Humans (Word)
    Lesson 7 Lesson Plan 7 - Corn, Punnett Squares, and Fatal Genes (pdf)
    Corn Crossing Handout (Word)
    Link to Video
    Lessons 8 & 9 Lesson Plans 8 and 9 - DNA Structure (pdf)
    Presentation - DNA Structure (ppt)
    DNA Structure Notes (Word)
    DNA Extraction (Word)
    DNA Extraction Quiz
    Link to Bill Nye genetics video
    Lessons 10 & 11  
    Lessons 12 & 13  
    Lessons 14-16  
    Lesson 17