Medical Applications of Genetic Technologies

Does artificial modification of human DNA have the potential to change the population forever?


This literacy activity asks students to read an article about genetic technologies with the purpose of answering two questions about various medical applications: Firstly, does the technology change the DNA of the subject? Secondly, does the technology have the potential to change the human population forever? Students then represent their answers using a graphic organiser. Two versions of the article are available (one in summary form) to allow for differentiation. Optional additional questions are also provided.

A full teacher guide is available for this activity. It includes answer sheets for the worksheets. Teachers can email from a school email address to gain access.

If you are interested in trialling this resource in your classroom and providing feedback, please email 

Assumed Knowledge

-Structure and function of DNA

-Inheritance of genetic diseases

Syllabus Connections (HSC Biology)

Genetic Change

  • distinguish between somatic mutations and germ-line mutations and their effect on an organism
  • investigate the uses and advantages of current genetic technologies that induce genetic change
  • compare the processes and outcomes of reproductive technologies
    • [IVF with PGD as additional example]
  • describe techniques and applications used in recombinant DNA technology, for example:
    • the development of transgenic organisms in agricultural and medical applications
  • evaluate the benefits of using genetic technologies in agricultural, medical and industrial applications

Conducting Investigations

  • select and extract information from a wide range of reliable secondary sources and acknowledge them using an accepted referencing style

Problem Solving

  • use scientific evidence and critical thinking skills to solve problems