Some Biotechnology Resources for 4-H Agents


4-H Agents with Little or No Background Knowledge in Biotechnology


Genetic Engineering (GE) Applications


·        RNAi:  This program produced by the Award winning science series producer, Nova, is an outstanding way to learn about DNA science and genetic engineering applications without any genetics or science background.  At the same time it provides a wonderful introduction to the fundamentals of molecular genetics and general implications to life.  It includes a 15 minute broadcast segment that is well worth the small amount of time needed for viewing (See lower left at linked website.  If you’re not sure what to open it with it and have Windows XPTM choose “Windows media”).  It also illustrates that at the DNA level plants and people are basically the same.




· is an excellent website providing the basic information on DNA, cells, and biotechnology. Provides animations explaining DNA, Proteins, Genes and Heredity. It also has interactive activities which would be beneficial for kids to complete.  Their general site is worth perusing:


· gives information on the how and why’s of biotechnology. Good source for information for agents wishing to learn more about biotechnology.


·        For 4-H agents wanting to conduct a biotechnology camp that have little or no background knowledge in biotechnology it might be best to start with using the Iowa State Curriculum titled A Crime, A Clue, and Biotechnology.  This can be purchased for $15 plus shipping charges. This curriculum guide provides a variety of activities with thorough explanations for agents to complete the activities with kids.  The National 4-H Council’s Environmental Stewardship program published the excellent leader’s guide to Making Sense of Biotechnology in Agriculture, “Fields of Genes” is also still valuable in conveying basic concepts and introducing biotechnology to youths.  Their learning activities are available online at:



4-H Agents with Average Knowledge of Biotechnology


The following websites provide information on biotechnology or activities that you could complete at a biotechnology camp.



Great site that lists numerous interactive sites for kids. If kids click on the kid zone icon at the top of the page, different subject area activities come up for kids to explore science on their own. There is a whole section dedicated to DNA and genetics. Also excellent resource for teachers.



Explains and highlights organelles of both plant and animal cells. Also shows an animation of mitosis and meiosis. Interactive website for both teachers and students.



An excellent site for information on genetically engineered crops.  It includes a link to an animated demo on how we do crop genetic engineering such as making Bt corn widely grown by farmers now:



Kids can raise and observe a genetically engineered pet, the GloFishTM and learn about DNA science and genetic engineering.  Many pet shops that sell fish now have these GloFish.  They are small, inexpensive easy to raise fresh water fish that brightly glow in the dark and the non-genetically engineered zebra fish do not.