Career Clusters: Agriculture, Health Science, STEM

Course Description: Introduction to Biotechnology introduces students to the fundamental scientific principles of biotechnology, bioethics, the variety of careers in biosciences, as well as the commercial and regulatory characteristics of biotechnology. The course emphasizes how key concepts from biology and chemistry apply to modern applications within the field of biotechnology. The knowledge and skills gained in this course provide students with a broad understanding of biotechnology and the impact it makes on society. The content and skills covered in this course are the basic competencies required for an entry‐level position in a biotechnology company.

Course Prerequisites: Biology and Chemistry

Postsecondary Alignment: BIO 160

Test Alignment: Precision Exams Introduction to Biotechnology

Standards Alignment:

-NCHSE: National Health Science Standards

-HOSA: HOSA – Future Health Professionals

-FFA: FFA – Agricultural Education

-CCTC: Common Career Technical Core

-CSS: Colorado State Standards


Standard I - Students will explore the foundations of biotechnology.
ObjectivesEvidence OutcomesStandards and CTSO Alignment
1- Define biotechnology and compare and contrast the history of biotechnology with current advancements.Students can:
a- Define biotechnology.
b- Outline uses of biotechnology through history.
c- Identify current uses of biotechnology.
2- Discuss advancements in the divisions of biotechnology.Students can:
a- Identify and describe current advancements in agricultural, industrial, medical, and environmental biotechnology.
b- Research and present a current advancement in biotechnology.
3- Identify bioethical issues surrounding biotechnology due to advancements in agricultural, industrial, medical, and environmental technologies.Students can:
a- Analyze the legal, ethical and social implications in regards to technology advancements in the field of biotechnology.
b- Debate a legal, ethical, or social implication in regards to technology advancements in the field of biotechnology.
4- Explore a variety of careers associated with the biotechnology industry and the academic world.Students can:
a- Research and outline educational and career paths for four different occupations, one in each division, of the biotechnology profession.
b- Prepare a presentation OR complete a project (i.e., video conferencing) on one career from the four previously researched. Presentation may include: a deep understanding of the career, educational requirements, job outlook, and salary range.
c- Describe the role of Career and Technical Student Organizations (HOSA and FFA) and demonstrate an understanding of their importance in postsecondary and workforce readiness skills.
5- Explore the development and management of biotechnology businesses.Students can:
a- Analyze the framework for translational science (i.e., basic research, prototype design or discovery, preclinical development, clinical development, FDA filing/approval and launch preparation, translational research, critical path research, patent application).
b- Examine how discoveries and inventions are commercialized.
b- Apply understanding of the basics of innovation and entrepreneurship in an area of biotechnology.
c- Examine the roll of the FDA in regards to compliance with laws and regulations.
Standard II - Students will demonstrate appropriate laboratory safety and proper use of equipment.
ObjectivesEvidence OutcomesStandards and CTSO Alignment
1- Demonstrate understanding of laboratory safety procedures and rules as they relate to a bioscience laboratory.Students can:
a- Understand how to read and use material safety data sheets (MSDS) including labeling, handling, and storage of chemicals.
b- Identify the proper procedures to contain and clean-up a solid and a liquid chemical spill.
c- Be able to manage and dispose of biological waste by following biohazard protocols.
d- Identify the location of safety equipment in the laboratory and describe how to use.

  • Eye wash stations

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Fire blankets

  • Emergency gas shut off valve

  • Glass waste

  • Biohazard waste

  • Liquid chemical waste

  • Hazard chemical storage

  • General chemical storage

  • Spill kit

  • Broom & dustpan

  • MSDS

  • First aid kit

e- Identify appropriate disinfection and sterilization processes.

  • Autoclave

  • Liquid chemicals

  • Ionizing radiation

  • Filtration

  • Gasses

  • Fire/Flaming

f- Demonstrate proper aseptic techniques and sterilizing procedures.
2- Describe personal protective equipment (PPE) used in a biotechnology laboratory.Students can:
a- Explain the four (4) Biosafety Levels and identify the types of organisms/pathogens that are associated with each level.
b- Select the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and facility requirements at each of the Biosafety Levels.
c- Demonstrate proper removal of disposable gloves.
3- Demonstrate proper use of biotechnology laboratory equipment and following common biotechnology lab protocols.Students can:
a- Identify common equipment used in a biotechnology laboratory and recognize appropriate usage such as:
• Micropipette
• Centrifuge
• Spectrophotometer
• pH meter
• Electrophoresis
• Thermocycler
• Microscope
• Autoclave
• Balance
• Water baths
• Hotplate
• Vortex Mixer
• Gel electrophoresis equipment
b- Accurately demonstrate appropriate techniques to measure mass and volume.
c- Accurately demonstrate the proper selection of pipettor, set the pipettor for accurate measurement, load and dispense a sample.
d- Accurately follow detailed standard operating protocols (SOP).
e- Model the ability to work independently and safely in a biotechnology laboratory.
f- Practice using sterile procedures while streaking bacterial cultures.
g- Understand the proper procedures for cleaning and preparing glassware.
Standard III - Students will investigate and apply basic laboratory skills.
ObjectivesEvidence OutcomesStandards and CTSO Alignment
1- Apply math skills required in the biotechnology laboratory.Students can:
a- Use the metric system appropriately while conducting experiments.
b- Convert numbers to scientific notation in lab calculations.
c- Explain calculations with exponents when making dilutions.
d- Demonstrate solution making calculations accurately.
e- Express data in graphs, tables, and charts.
2- Calculate and prepare buffers, stock solutions, and reagents.Students can:
a- Calculate concentration of solutions.
b- Explain dilution principles, prepare serial dilutions, and calculate how to dilute a stock solution to make a working solution.
c- Measure and adjust the pH of solutions with commonly used acids and bases.
d- Create a reagent and determine protein concentration in a sample.
3- Demonstrate understanding of the scientific method and apply the principles of experimental design to basic laboratory protocols.Students can:
a- Design and implement an experiment aimed at testing a problem while following the scientific method.
b- Maintain accurate documentation of the investigation in a legal lab notebook.
b- Communicate the results of the investigation (i.e., in a poster symposium format, lab write up, or a journal article).
Standard IV - Molecular Biology.
ObjectivesEvidence OutcomesStandards and CTSO Alignment
1- Understand cell division as it relates to emerging technologies related to stem cell research and cancer biology.Students can:
a- Understand the various mechanisms that lead to cancer.
b- Compare and contrast different stem cell types (i.e., adult, embryonic and iPS).
c- Identify the potency, benefits, drawbacks, ethical implications, epigenetic patterns, etc., of each type of stem cell.
2- Identify the structure and functions of nucleic acids, DNA and RNA in detail. Students can:
a- Describe and/or model the structure of DNA.
b- Compare and contrast the structure and function of DNA and RNA.
c- Relate the current understanding of the structure of DNA to technologies used in the biotechnology field i.e., restriction digest and DNA profiling.
d- Describe the steps involved in electrophoresis and perform the technique correctly.
e- Perform a restriction digest and analyze the results with gel electrophoresis.
f- Understand how the chemical structure of DNA allows for fragmentation when using gel electrophoresis.
3- Describe patterns of genetic inheritance.Students can:
a- Apply basic Mendelian inheritance principles when solving genetic problems.
b- Describe the importance of genetic variation (principle of segregation, principle of independent assortment).
c- Use a model organism to demonstrate an understanding of inheritance patterns and/or gene expression.
d- Identify the modes of inheritance of a trait.
e- Identify complex inheritance patterns (i.e., genetic heterogeneity, epistasis, epigenetics, penetrance and expressivity, etc.).
4- Apply the process of DNA replication to aid in understanding of technology and advancements in the biotechnology field. Students can:
a- Summarize the history of DNA sequencing and identify the basics of current, next generation sequencing efforts.
b- Illustrate the steps of DNA replication in detail and identify the enzymes involved.
c- Identify how the current understanding of DNA replication is used when performing PCR.
d- Use PCR to amplify DNA and analyze the results using electrophoresis.
e- Investigate the concepts of genomics and apply to human, microbial, plant and animal genomes.
f- Construct a project that relates to technology used in DNA replication, i.e., sequencing experiment, bioethics of personal genomics (personalized medicine), virtual lab, video conferencing, DNA Barcoding, etc.
5- Understand factors that influence gene expression and gene regulation within the cell.Students can:
a- Illustrate the steps of protein synthesis/gene expression within the cell.
b- Explain the progression of information from DNA to traits (transcription, translation, splicing, alternate splicing, mRNA modification).
c- Relate genetic diseases to problems with gene expression (i.e., under/over expression, mutations resulting in harmful protein, mutations resulting in non-functional protein, prions, etc.).
d- Understand how the epigenome (epigenetics) influences gene expression and disease.
e- Relate how technology allows for scientists to pinpoint missing or defective genes.
f- Outline the current technologies related to gene expression, i.e., epigenetic therapy, RNAi therapy, gene therapy, CRISPR Technology, Recombinant DNA Technology, etc.
g- Analyze the role of noncoding RNA’s in gene regulation.
6- Explain how Proteomics allows scientists to identify and characterize all the proteins synthesized in a cell.Students can:
a- Illustrate the structure and function of proteins.
b- Identify the types of proteins, their functions, and levels of structure.
c- Compare protein structure to function.
d- Give examples of how physical conditions affect the structure and function of proteins (temperature, pH, cofactors, salts, and minerals).
e- Define enzyme and explain how to measure the activity of an enzyme.
f- Operate current technology used in the biotechnology industry to study proteins (SDS-PAGE, column chromatography, spectrometry, etc.).
g - Identify when to use chromatography, the procedures used, and perform the technique correctly.
h- Identify the equilibrium constant of a solution using spectrophotometry (optional).
7- Understand the process of genetic engineering and identify the social and ethical implications of technologies used in the field. Students can:
a- Describe the use of cloning vectors in genetic engineering and identify different types of commonly used cloning vectors (i.e., plasmids, stem cells, viruses, etc.).
b- Perform bacterial transformation and analyze results. Identify the importance/role of the various steps throughout the process (i.e., competency, heat and chemical shock, etc.).
c- Identify different methods used to genetically modify an organism (i.e., Recombinant DNA and CRISPR technology).
d- Describe how to quantify the amount of DNA purified (spectrophotometry).
e. Explore the bioethical implications of genetic engineering in the creation of GMOs.
f. Explore the applications of genetic engineering (i.e., food, industry, agriculture, environmental, drugs/pharmaceutical, etc.).