Let Your Kid Be a Hero, a Genetic Engineering Hero
Learning biology through hands-on genetic engineering experiments just got a lot closer to home with the release of the world’s first beginner’s guide to genetic engineering. "Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The beginner’s guide to programming bacteria at home, school & in the makerspace" is written for teenagers, families, teachers, and classrooms to acquire university-level genetic engineering skills without needing expensive equipment or expert guidance.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) remain a controversial subject in society, in large part due to the lack of understanding of what genetic engineering is. A growing gap between the public and science/technology has resulted in international anti-genetic engineering and anti-science movements, in part driven by celebrities that are promoting anti-science and anti-GMO philosophies.
“It is critical that the next generation learn the nuts and bolts of genetic engineering and understand one of the greatest and most important technologies humanity has created,” says Dr. Justin Pahara. “Mainstream people that spread suggestions based on fear from partial information are doing society a great disservice. It is more important than ever for our society to become educated and learn the facts of how our world works rather than react with fear and aversion.”
But there is a rapidly growing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) movement across the globe that is bringing education of how our world works to teens. With Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero, biology and genetic engineering are now also part of this STEM revolution. Students as young as twelve years old are now becoming leaders in science literacy by learning the basic principles of genetic engineering in their homes, schools or makerspaces.
With the availability of the right tools, STEM education is much more accessible to the next generation.
“The book, the DNA Playground, and my centrifuge gave me an understanding of what genetic engineering is and how you can program bacteria to make things. It was so exciting that I’m asking my Science teacher to start an iGEM team next year that will compete in the High School league,” says Pau, 12 year old from Washington, DC, USA.
Pau is one example of hundreds of teens learning genetic engineering through STEM activities. Patricia, from Toronto, Canada, also 12 years old, dug deep into the world of genetic engineering using the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero guide in order to feed her growing CRISPR-Cas9 interest.
Genetic Engineering Heroes like Pau and Patricia are the bright stars of our tomorrow. Not only could they help cure diseases using science, but even more important and powerful is that as teenagers, they have a deep understanding of what genetic engineering is and can make informed decisions about genetic engineering and GMOs throughout their lives.
Join the biology STEM revolution today and see the worlds first beginner's guide to genetic engineering.
Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Author Julie Legault is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab and is an expert in transforming complex technology into experiences for non-experts. Justin Pahara is a graduate from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge and has more than a decade of experience in synthetic biology and genetic engineering.