Virtual Genetics Education Centre



Deciphering the Genetic Code

Starting in the late 1950s, a number of scientists around the world began to map the method by which DNA is translated into proteins. Working with his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Marshall Nirenberg solved this conundrum in 1961. This exhibit from the NIH looks into the career of Marshall Nirenberg, along with providing details about the scientific instruments he used to complete this discovery. The exhibit is divided into six sections, including "Scientific Instruments", "Biographies", and "History". The "History" area provides details on the emergence of the modern field of genetics, complete with illustrations and work done by Nirenberg's intellectual predecessors. The "Scientific Instruments" area is a real treat, as it features photographs of elaborate instruments donated by Nirenberg. The site also contains a glossary and a selection of recommended links.

Resource: NIH.  Deciphering the Genetic Code
Age range: 14-16/16-18
Approach: Topic material

Inside DNA: A Genomic Revolution

Inside DNA was developed At-Bristol on behalf of Ecsite-uk, with funding from the Wellcome Trust and support from the Sanger Institute. The site provides a wealth of current news information, details about the Human Genome Project, tutorial information and teaching materials and links to other resources.

Resource: inside dna
Age range:  14-16/16-18
Approach: Topic material

DNA: Structure and Function

Learning modules on DNA structure and replication, plus a number of other topics in genetics, from Making the Modern World (the Science Museum). The modules contain topic material, activities and a range of media resources.

Resource: Making the Modern World website
Software: QuickTime
Age range: 14-16/16-18
Approach: Topic material


A range of online resources to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, from The National Centre for Biotechnology Education at The University of Reading.

Resource: NCBE website
Age range: 14-16/16-18
Approach: Topic material

DNA Interactive (DNAi)

A range of online teaching materials and lesson plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, from the Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC) of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Resource: DNA Interactive website
Age range: 14-16/16-18
Approach: Topic material 

DNA Modelling Activity

Details of a two-dimensional model kit that can be used to teach DNA structure, replication and transcription developed by the European Initiative for Biotechnology Education. Please click the EN download underneath 'Unit 6'.

Resource: EIBE website
Age range: 16-18
Approach: Modelling activity 

Online Tutorial on DNA Structure and Replication

Online tutorial on DNA structure and replication, including animations and self-assessment activities, from BioCoach.

Resource: The Biology Place website
Age range: 11-14/14-16
Approach: Interactive tutorial

Fold a DNA Model

A fun activity where students fold a paper model which makes up a DNA double helix. This has been supplied by the Welcome Trust centre for Human Genetics.

Resource: DNA Helix template
Age range: 7-10/11-14/14-16
Approach: Games and quizzes

Make a DNA Model

Background information about DNA and also a downloadable PDF which you can then cut out to make a DNA model. This has been supplied by the CSIRO. The DNA templates are included in the pdf file below.

Resource: Make a DNA model
Age range:  7-10/11-14/14-16
Approach: Games and quizzes

An Overview of DNA

A collection of resources providing an overview of DNA, including pages on its properties, chemical modification, biological functions, interactions with proteins and uses in technology.

Resource: An Overview of DNA
Age range: 11-14/14-16
Approach: Topic Material


Gene Builder/Heredity slots/Genome Quiz

Three interactive activities from Pfizer's Genome site. The Gene Builder activity explores DNA replication and base-pairing rules.

Resource: Genome Pfizer website
Age range: 11-14/14-16
Approach: Games and quizzes

EU-Sol Tomato Seeds

Part of the Times Education Supplement (TES) Secondary Biology Collection.A free genetic resource for EU Schools. The aim is to reinforce theoretical learning of genetics: students can grow naturally occurring tomato seedlings in which genetic inheritance rules for the dominant/recessive characteristics can be detected. The resources have been translated into 6 languages. To access this resource you are required to register with the TES; registration is free.

Resource: EU-Sol Tomato Seeds- Free Genetic Resource
Age range: 14-16/16-18
Approach: Activity

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