Modern Genetics

Modern Genetics Overview

Genetics has always been central to biology. Today, genetic findings are impacting human health at an increasing pace.

Modern Genetics for All Students

Since 1991, Modern Genetics for All Students has helped more than 39,000 high school students learn DNA basics in the biology lab. Active investigations include extracting and spooling DNA, engineering glow-in-the-dark bacteria, crossing strains of different-colored yeast, growing Wisconsin Fast Plants, and inducing mutations in bacteria using UV light. Modeling activities help conceptualize how genes code for proteins and how they are expressed, how DNA structure allows replication, and how traits and genetic diseases are inherited. Group discussions about genetic testing, GM foods and biotechnology highlight how advances in genetics are impacting society.

Download Full Instructional Materials

Student Overview of Modern Genetics

Teacher Overview of Modern Genetics

Download Individual Chapters of Modern Genetics

Chapter 1 – DNA: The Hereditary Molecule

Student Version of Chapter 1

Teacher Version of Chapter 1

Student Worksheets for Chapter 1

Chapter 2 – Passing Traits from One Generation to the Next

Student Version of Chapter 2

Teacher Version of Chapter 2

Student Worksheets for Chapter 2

Chapter 3 – How Genes and the Environment Influence Our Health

Student Version of Chapter 3

Teacher Version of Chapter 3

Student Worksheets for Chapter 3

Chapter 4 – Controlling Our Genetic Futures

Student Version of Chapter 4

Teacher Version of Chapter 4

Student Worksheets for Chapter 4

Teacher Appendix

Appendix for Teachers

Grade level: 9-12
490 pages
2003 edition

Authors: Sarah C.R. Elgin, Cynthia J. Moore, David Kirk, Victoria L. May, Gary Corbin, Susan K. Flowers, Rebecca Aulenbacher, David Brock, Mark Kalk, Martha Thompson

Developed with primary support from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources, Science Education Partnership Award; additional support provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Monsanto Fund, and the Dana Brown Charitable Trust.

  • Barbara Bilgre

    These are very interesting activities and unit layout, but this is not ‘curriculum’. I don’t see any link to Standards and Benchmarks, or listing content knowledge and skills students will be expected to develop. I’ll be happy to implement some of this into my new Modern Genetics unit in our Applied Life Sciences course, but would really love the rest of the curricular information for our records.


      Thank you for your interest in the Modern Genetics for All Students unit. We are pleased that you are considering including some of the investigations in your Applied Life Sciences course. We would be interested in hearing how it goes with your students and hope you will consider posting comments on the results.

      One of the goals of the Institute for School Partnership is to provide teacher-tested instructional materials that may be used as an enhancement to curricula in a wide variety of school settings. We expect teachers will assess our instructional materials and make decisions as to how they may satisfy local science education standards or benchmarks. The Modern Genetics unit teacher pages do include conceptual and lesson overviews that may help with this. At this time the Modern Genetics unit has not been matched to standards due to the changing landscape for science standards at both the state and national level in the U.S.