Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2003


Sandra Santillan

Susan E. Wagner High School, Staten Island, NY


What are most recent developments in animal and human cloning?


Living Environment- Genetics




In this lesson, students act as research scientist and investigate the development of animal and human cloning.  They then report their findings, both orally and visually, to their ‘colleagues’ at a symposium on cloning research.


 Students respond to the following in their notebooks, written on the board prior to class: “At a recent symposium on cloning, three scientist vowed that despite the possible risks they are going to attempt to clone humans”.  Fold a piece of paper in your notebooks in half vertically.  Label the left column ‘Benefits’ and the right column ‘Drawbacks.’ Consider what the potential benefits and drawbacks of human cloning might be, and record your responses in the appropriate columns on your paper”.  After five to ten minutes, ask students to share their responses and record them on the board. 

 Resources / Materials:

-classroom blackboard
-copies of "Despite Warnings, 3 Vow to Go Ahead on Human Cloning" (one per student) (
-reference materials with information about genetics and cloning (computers with Internet access, encyclopedias, textbooks, library references)
-scissors, poster board, construction paper, tape or glue, sets of colored pencils (one of each per small group)



Divide students in six groups.  Explain to students that they will be acting as teams of research scientist preparing for a symposium on developments in human cloning.  Each team will conduct basic research on their topic and prepare a poster presentation to explain their findings to their “colleagues”.  Assign each group one of the following aspects of cloning-related topics to research using all available classroom resources. 

(A print out of the following topics will be distributed to each group): 


Group #1   Sexual vs. Asexual Reproduction

1.      What is mitosis?

2.      What are “autosomal” cells?

3.      What are some examples of organisms that reproduce asexually?

4.      What is meiosis? 

5.      What are “gametes” or “sex cells”?

6.      How does a fertilized egg cell divide?

7.      What are some examples of organisms that reproduce sexually?

8.      Create a diagram of the chromosome structures used for both mitosis and meiosis, clearly explaining how each process works.


Group #2   Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)

1.      During this process, what is removed from an unfertilized egg?

2.      What replaces it?

3.      What does the nucleus of a “somatic cell” contain that is necessary for this process?

4.      How is the newly constructed cell stimulated?

5.      What happens to the new cell after it has been stimulated?

6.      Create an annotated diagram of the SCNT process.


Group #3   In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

1.      How is in vitro fertilization performed?

2.      What does the egg retrieval procedure involve?

3.      How is the embryo transfer conducted?

4.      What is Lutron, and how is it used in an IVF procedure?

5.      What are “FSH” injections?

6.      What are “antral follicle counts”?

7.      What other tests must be performed during the IVF cycle? 

8.      Create an illustrated timeline of the IVF cycle.


Group #4   Gene Therapy

1.      What is a human gene, and what does it do?

2.      What are some of the diseases hat human gene therapy might cure?

3.      What are stem cells?

4.      What is the difference between “pluripotent” and “adult” stem cells?

5.      How are pluripotent stem cells derived?

6.      Do adult stem cells have the same potential as pluripotent stem cells?

7.      Create an illustrated glossary of gene therapy terms and the disease this therapy might treat.


Group #5   Cloning Animals

1.      What types of animals have been successfully cloned?

2.      What was the first animal that was cloned?

3.       What procedure was used?

4.      How long have these animals lived?`

5.      What were some of the unforeseen problems that arose?

6.      Create an illustrated timeline showing the history of animal cloning.


Group #6   The Genome

1.      What genetic information is required to clone a human or an animal?

2.      What are DNA sequences?

3.      What proteins are the constructed from?

4.      How are genes transferred from a sperm to an egg cell?

5.      What is “reprogramming”, and how does it “condition” the parent DNA in the offspring?

6.      What does genomic imprinting mean?

7.      What is methyalation, and how long does a cell have to imprint before it methylates?

8.      Draw a diagram of how genomic imprinting theoretically works to “turn on” a cell’s ability to read genes.  

Interdisciplinary Connections:
This lesson teaches the student to gather and use information for research purposes. Uses a variety of resources materials to gather information for research topics.  Determines the appropriateness of an information source for a research topic.  Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systemic ways.  This is how reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills are addressed in this lesson.


Groups complete their research and poster development.  In a future class, conduct a mock symposium on developments in cloning research.  Arrange desks in a circle, and have each group present their information in the order of their group numbers.  Allow students to question presenters.  Then, as a class, synthesize how developments in cloning research have made an impact on science, and speculate on further developments in human cloning.  In what ways is cloning humans similar to and different from past cloning experiments?  What would students add to their initial “benefits/drawbacks” chart now that they know more about this issue?


New York State Standards Addressed

Grade 9-12

The Living Environment:

 Key Idea 1:  Living things are both similar to and different from each other and nonliving things.

Key Idea 3:  Individual organisms and species change over time.

Key Idea 4:  The continuity of life is sustained through reproduction and development


These Key Ideas will be addressed in this lesson, in this way:

·        Students will understand the genetic basis for the transfer of biological characteristics from one generation to the next

·        Students will know the chemical and structural properties of DNA and its role in specifying the characteristics of an organism

·        Students will know the ways in which genes may be altered and combined to create genetic variation within a species

·        Students will know that mutations and new gene combinations may have positive, negative, or no effects on the organism and the features of human genetics


Literacy Skills Demonstrated

Collaborative group work, speaking and demonstration skills.  Students’ learning will be assessed based on written notebook response, participation in class discussion, participation in group brainstorming and evaluation, and answers to specific set questions.  The students will be graphing, collecting, comparing and evaluating data.  Collaborative group work, speaking and demonstration skills

Numeracy Skills Demonstrated

 Survey your home and examine cosmetics, drugs, foods and other products that contain genetically modified foods.  Create a graph or series of graphs that illustrate the percentages of products in your home that might contain this type of product. 

 Other Skills Demonstrated

In this lesson, students are required to use critical thinking skills in cooperative learning groups.  Through research and sharing information they are discovering different information while exploring possible benefits and drawbacks of human cloning.

Supplementary Discovery Activities

1.      Conduct a survey in your school, asking respondents whether or not cloning of humans should be allowed and what concerns they have based on their opinion.  Then analyze the results and write a report based on your findings.

2.      Research the use of DNA testing in forensic science, and write an article describing how genetics can be used to identify a person who is dead.


Genetics Resources

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