Recombinant DNA Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

Recombinant DNA has made its way into our everyday lives in our food supply. Your students can be introduced to this technology as they read and discuss a text lesson, create recombinant DNA using paper, compile pros and cons lists, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Define recombinant DNA
  • Give a description of how recombinant DNA is created
  • Explain how recombinant DNA is and can be used


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.



  • Begin this lesson by asking your students about the last vegetable they ate. Discuss with them that more than likely, the vegetable was created using recombinant DNA technology. Let your students know that they are going to learn more about recombinant DNA as they read the Recombinant DNA: Definition, Applications & Methods text lesson.
  • Pass out the copies of the lesson and read and discuss the lesson together as a class.
  • Read from the beginning through the end of the 'What is DNA?' section, then ask and discuss:
    • What is DNA?
    • What are nucleotides?
    • What is a gene?
    • What is the function of a gene?
  • Continue reading through the end of the 'Changing the Genetic Code' section, then ask and discuss:
    • What is a restriction enzyme?
    • What do scientists use restriction enzymes for?
    • What are sticky ends?
    • What does DNA ligase do?
    • What does splicing mean?
  • Continue to read through the end of the 'Genetically Modified Foods' section, then ask and discuss:
    • What does GMO stand for?
    • How is recombinant DNA used to create GMOs?
    • What are some examples of GMOs?
  • Continue reading through the end of the 'Disease Research' section, then ask and discuss:
    • What types of diseases could recombinant DNA possible help to cure?
    • What is Alzheimer's disease?
    • How could recombinant DNA possibly help to cure Alzheimer's disease?
    • What do scientists need to figure out before they can use recombinant DNA to treat Alzheimer's disease?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' section to your students and answer any questions they may have.

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