The iXplore Biotechnology Education and Resource Program (Bio-Tech Ed) provides educators with professional development and training in biotechnology and bioinformatics and the resources needed to implement 21st century genetics curricula — Maine Barcode of Life (MBOL), Decoding Our Pets, and Teaching the Genome Generation (TtGG).
Bio-Tech Ed trains teachers during professional development programs or in the classroom during the academic year. Participants learn how to use a variety of technologies including DNA extraction methods, gene amplification (PCR), electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, and genetic engineering. Teachers also use bio-informatics tools to analyze the genetic code. Teachers who complete training gain access to Mobile Laboratory Kits and supplies (at no cost) for their classrooms and receive classroom support as needed.
The MBOL curriculum uses biotechnology, called DNA barcoding, to identify and classify organisms based on their genetic code. Barcoding projects allow students to study the changing biodiversity within their local environment, identify native and invasive species, and investigate food fraud. Students publish their results in the BOLDsystems.org database, which catalogs and tracks organisms around the globe. Decoding Our Pets curriculum examines genes controlling physical and behavioral traits in mixed breed and purebred dogs. The TtGG curriculum (developed by Jackson Lab) focuses on human genetics and genomics and introduces bioethical concerns surrounding genetic testing.