A Website of Interest to Biotech Education

C. S. Prakash Prakash at Acd.Tusk.Edu
Tue Apr 9 00:15:47 EST 1996

Access Excellence - A Web Site for High School Biology Teachers

        If you are a high school biology teacher or even a college
instructor, it is likely that you are looking for some innovative ideas to
creatively teach your students.   Or perhaps you wish to know what other
methods teachers around the country are using to teach the polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) technique, dinosaur paleontology or genetic counseling.
Then a visit to "Access Excellence" site on the world wide web on the
Internet (http://www.gene.com/ae/) is in order.  Access Excellence is an
educational network funded by Genentech, Inc.,  the biotechnology  company,
which brings together many high school biology teachers from around the
country and provides them with valuable resources to share ideas for
innovative instruction including articles on class room exercises, profiles
on scientists, graphics and information on biotechnology education and
career resources.

        Be sure to visit the "Activities Exchange" section where the
favorite class room activities of high school teachers (along with pictures
of these teachers) from around the country are posted on topics such as
antibiotic production, bioethics, transgenics (can some one make a cow that
produces chocolate milk?), using jewelry to teach DNA codon usage,
Genes-R-Us (on genetic counseling),  "Transcription-Translation Tango" to
teach the intricacies of protein synthesis, and many other gems.  A hot
link to the "DNA Learning Center" of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory lets
you learn the use of PCR to estimate gene frequencies with Alu markers.  In
the "Activities-To-Go" section, there are text and graphics files on many
interesting subjects such as DNA sequencing, DNA fingerprinting, AIDS,
Jurassic Park Study Guide and scientific clip art.

        An in-depth look at biotechnology can be found at the "About
Biotech" section, which has narratives on the history of biotechnology and
its current applications in farming, medicine and the environment.  My
favorite part here is the "Pioneer Profiles" which has brief biographies of
scientific luminaries such as Barbara McClintock, James Watson, Kary Mullis
and Linus Pauling.  "The Story of DNA" has a lucid chronicle of the
discovery of the structure of DNA.   The rich hypertext format is used
throughout the site and these hot links lets you jump around related
topics.   For instance, while reading about "PCR", you can jump to "Kary
Mullis", its discoverer and then to "DNA" and so on.   An interview with
Dr. Francis Crick, the co-discover of DNA structure is a 'must-visit' page
of the Access Excellence.  The Human Genome Project and many of its ethical
issues receive considerable attention at various locations in the Access
Excellence.    The "Career Center" provides you with addresses of various
biotechnology related institutions around the country  and descriptions of
several careers in biotechnology.   Addresses of institutions providing
higher education in biotechnology in all 50 states of U. S. can also be
found here.

        A visit to the "Teachers Lounge" lets you listen to the discussions
among teachers where you can also post messages.  The "Teacher-Scientist"
Network has eminent scientists delivering on-line seminars on specific
topics such as the current one "Microbial Fermentation-Changing the Course
of Human History".  The "Graphics Gallery" has an excellent downloadable
collection of cartoons and diagrams that are useful in teaching varied
topics such as chromosome crossing over, DNA restriction digestion, PCR,
transgenic mice and viral replication.  The "What's News" contains science
news, interviews with scientists, factoids and information on science
programs in television, radio and the Internet.

        Whether you are a novice or a professional in biotechnology, the
Access Excellence on the web is bound to interest you and deserves a
bookmark in your browser for repeat visits.  Note:  my understanding is
that Access Excellence is not used to advertise Genentech products or
services, and thus purely a philanthropic venture by this biotech company.

C. S. Prakash
Center for Plant Biotechnology Research
Tuskegee University

Prakash at Acd.Tusk.Edu

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