How is genetic engineering done?

What is DNA? BioArt? Agar art?

You might already know that biology and living systems are amazing. And one of the best ways to understand how they work is by experimenting with them! With the free Virtual Bioengineer Simulators, you can learn and practice your genetic engineering skills while discovering the answers to the most common biology, biotechnology, and genetic engineering questions.

Each simulator takes you through a different aspect of biotechnology. Two of the simulators are also a great way to practice doing our biology kits before you complete them.

What is DNA? Simulator

Use the Virtual Bioengineer: What is DNA? simulator to learn about the double helix structure, how it was discovered, and some DNA-related terminology. Every living thing has DNA and this simulator is a great way to learn some basics.

You can also complete this simulator as part of Chapter 1 of your Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Book and alongside the DNA extraction kit.

Start the DNA simulator

Making bio-art with the 'Canvas Kit' Simulator

Use the Virtual Bioengineer: Canvas Kit simulator to learn how to grow bacteria and make your own bio-art. In the end, you will get a glimpse of a new creative medium and see how bacteria can be your art-accomplices! 

You can also complete this simulator alongside Chapter 3 of your Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Book and as a companion to the Canvas Kit.

Start the bio-art simulator

Genetic Engineering with the 'Engineer-it Kit' Simulator

Use the Virtual Bioengineer: Engineer-it Kit simulator to learn how to grow and engineer bacteria with DNA! In the end, you’ll have learned where modern medicines, food, and many innovative materials come from.

You can also complete this simulator alongside Chapter 4 of Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Book, and as a companion to the Engineer-it Kit.

Essaie-le en Français!

Start the genetic engineering simulator

All of our simulators are classroom-friendly and have post-simulator quizzes.

These Virtual Bioengineer Simulators can be used in middle school and high school classrooms, in after-school clubs, iGEM teams, or at home. Each simulator takes about 20-30 minutes to complete in a desktop browser (*does not work with touch devices - phones, tablets). 

The Virtual Bioengineer Simulators were developed with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in mind and are great for STEM teachers and curious learners. The simulators can be used as standalone learning opportunities or alongside our beginner-friendly hands-on kits.

If you are using the simulators as teaching tools, you can find post-simulator quizzes on our Google Classroom for Educators. For other simulator quizzes and the sheet-based quizzes with answer sheet, email us



Tips for using the simulators:

For any of the simulators, you will need to use a desktop computer as they are not optimized for touch devices like tablets and phones. All of the simulators run best in the Chrome browser. Note that if you have any pop-up blockers or similar, they can interfere with the simulators.

P.S. our site doesn't have any ads, so it should be ok to disable them while using the simulators if needed!

If you get stuck during the simulation, follow the links to videos that will show you a quick walkthrough of the simulators. This will show you what you are supposed to click or click-and-drag on each screen:

'What is DNA?' Simulator video

'Making bio-art with the Canvas Kit' Simulator video

'Genetic Engineering with the Engineer-it Kit' Simulator video

'Genetic Engineering with the Engineer-it Kit' Simulator video (French)