CTE Buying Guide

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Career Cluster provides CTE students with industry-relevant technical knowledge and career readiness skills for STEM fields. One such career domain, biotechnology, is rapidly expanding into the emerging fields of medical, agricultural, forensics, regulatory, and research increasing the need for students trained and proficient in the use of biotechnology laboratory equipment, statistical analysis, and quality-control techniques.

To help in planning your CTE Biotechnology courses, the following buying guide outlines hands-on labs, materials, and content that are sure to enhance and facilitate your student’s professional biotechnology growth.


Click any of the links below to skip to the content area of your interest or view the entire page to preview what a CTE Biotechnology course with Carolina can be!

Genetic Foundations of Biotechnology

Students must be prepared to demonstrate the role of genetics in the biotechnology industry by comparing the structures and functions of DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA), describing the process of DNA replication, illustrating the process of protein synthesis, and explaining the molecular structure of genes. A comprehensive understanding of these processes is further enhanced though the examination of different types of mutations, explaining the effects of mutation types of phenotype and gene function, and describing unique elements of chromosomal structures.

211181 Modeling DNA to Protein Kit
211143 Dynamic DNA Kit©
214800 Disorder Detectives Classroom Kit

Biotechnology Laboratory Skills

Proficient performance in the modern biotechnology laboratory requires mastery of common techniques and skills such as measuring volumes, pipetting, microorganism identification by staining, preparing, and handling media, performing restriction digest using gel electrophoresis, and performing plating techniques such as streaking, spreading, and the Kirby-Bauer method.

211145 Practice Pipetting Stations Kit
652704 Carolina® Bacterial Pollution of Water Kit
154980P The Tragic Case of Stan: Laboratory Case Study
211103 DNA Restriction Analysis Kit

Equipment Suggestions:

214547 Carolina® Micropipette Starter Bundle
213602 Carolina® Separation Station II Electrophoresis Equipment Package, 110-V and 220-V


Aseptic Technique and Solution Preparation

Proper aseptic technique is paramount for maintaining a sterile work area on the lab bench. Biotechnicians frequently prepare, dispense, and monitor stock reagents, buffers, media, and solutions by calculating and preparing dilution series and determining optimum conditions of reagents for experimentation.

821042 Introduction to Sterile Technique
217010 BioBuilder® Guiding Light: Measuring and Analyzing Fluorescence Kit
840600 Carolina Investigations® for Use with AP® Chemistry: Evaluating the Extent of Buffering Capacity of Various Household Products Kit

Equipment Suggestions:

215540 Multilevel Test Tube Rack, 0.2 to 50 mL

Experience unmatched flexibility and adaptability on your lab bench with the Multilevel Test Tube Rack. Made of durable polypropylene, it accommodates tubes ranging in size from 0.2 mL to 50 mL, all on one convenient, tiered rack. The multilevel structure makes it easy to keep the test tubes organized.

215249 Carolina® Premium Microcentrifuge Tubes, 1.5 mL

Carolina® Premium Microcentrifuge Tubes provide the convenience of 5 different colors (blue, red, green, purple, yellow), making it easy to organize your labs by reaction, temperature, or lab groups. The pack of 500 provides two 50-tube bags of each color (100 tubes total per color).

Quality Control and Industry Regulations

Policies and procedures used in the biotechnology industry such as quality assurance, standard operating procedures (SOPs), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Good Documentation Practices (GDP), Good Lab Practices (GLP), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) must be followed in practice.

211165 Taq Polymerase Production and Validation Kit
211390 DNALC Culturing and Observing C. elegans Kit
211381P PTC Taster: Using SNP to Predict Bitter Tasting Ability Kits

Equipment Suggestions:

215620 Labeling Tape

This premium grade of printable masking tape has excellent adhesion qualities and is resistant to water, solvents, and oils. The tape performs well in water baths, incubators, autoclaves, refrigerators, and freezers.

706330 Disposable Laboratory Coats, Tyvek®

Made of Tyvek® and inert to most organic and inorganic chemicals. White lab coat will not discolor with age. Size, large.

Recombinant DNA Technology and Genetic Engineering

Biotechnology students can describe the fundamental steps in recombinant DNA technology, such as explaining the role of restriction enzymes, distinguishing between commonly used vectors such as plasmids and viruses, perform a bacterial transformation, and evaluate the results of a bacterial transformation using a restriction enzyme digest.

211128 Transduction of an Antibiotic-Resistance Gene Kit
211174 Restriction Mapping of Plasmid DNA Kit
211100 Exploring Gene Expression Through Transformation Kit
217008 BioBuilder® Golden Bread PCR

Equipment Suggestions:

216253 Carolina® Mini Dry Bath

Perfect for classrooms with limited lab space and on a budget, the Carolina® Mini Dry Bath was designed with the needs of educators in mind. Featuring compact construction and a user-friendly digital interface, this dry bath also provides consistent temperature performance you can trust for heat shocks, restriction digests, and more.

215584 Frosty Mate™ Color Change Freezer Racks

Check sample temperature at a glance. Here is a freezer rack that provides a visual indicator of temperature by dramatically changing color from yellow to dark green when its temperature is below 7° C and back to yellow when its temperature rises above 7° C. This reusable polypropylene rack has an operating range of –86° C to +121° C and can maintain a temperature of less than 4° C for almost 3-1/2 hr (with lid on) at room temperature.

Applications of DNA technology and genetic engineering

Biotechnology techniques and processes are applied across many industries including agricultural, forensic, medical, industrial, pharmaceutical, and research sectors. Application of biotechnology in these fields often includes real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA fingerprinting, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) analysis, synthetic biology, and therapeutic medical applications.

211367 Detecting Genetically Modified Food by PCR
211233A Using Highly Variable Polymorphisms in Forensic Biology and Population Genetics Kits
214820 HNPCC: Detecting Inherited Forms of Cancer
217000 BioBuilder® Eau That Smell

Equipment Suggestions:

216298 Carolina® Compact Thermal Cycler

The Carolina® Compact Thermal Cycler saves precious lab space without sacrificing quality and programmability. At just over 6″ wide (15.7 cm), this low throughput and cost-effective thermal cycler features a full-color touch screen with an intuitive user interface that offers complete control and storage of over 100 programs.

213694 Carolina® LED Light Box

With powerful long-lasting, dual LEDs, the Carolina® LED light box emits either white or blue light, giving you increased options during gel staining and viewing. Designed with the classroom in mind, this light box is made with a durable molded polymer casing and features a small footprint for easy storage and saving space.

Barcoding & Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics of DNA by barcoding, sequencing, use of online databases, and genetic testing has expanded career opportunities in biotechnology and directly influenced society by defining new personal and ethical choices for individuals and governments at large. Literacy in techniques such as DNA barcoding, Sanger and next generation sequencing, and discoveries with epigenetics are essential for future biotechnicians to navigate the ever-evolving bioinformatic landscape of the future workplace.  

211385 Using DNA Barcodes to Identify and Classify Living Things
214805 Genes and ConSEQUENCES Classroom Kit
211404 Detecting Epigenetic DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis Kit

Equipment Suggestions:

211151 Biotechnology Kit©

Using the kit’s color-coded foam nucleotides and teacher-developed activities, students can model polymerase chain reaction, model the Sanger DNA sequencing method using chain-terminating fluorescent dideoxy nucleotide analogs, and

Model DNA cloning using restriction endonucleases to cut DNA at specific sequences

211124 Bioinformatics Map of the Human Beta-Globin Gene© Set

Don’t just tell your students about triplet codons, reading frames, and introns and exons—let them explore these elegant features of eukaryotic genes as they examine the map of the human β-globin gene. Searching through the sequence to find the β-globin gene reinforces students’ knowledge of the genetic code and their understanding of the role of bioinformatics software in automating DNA sequence analysis.

ELISA, Assay Design & Proteins

Protein analysis and assays have become routine practices in modern biotechnology industries. Techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), standard curves, microarrays, and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis have revolutionized the medical, therapeutic, evolutionary, and research applications for analyzing proteins.

211248 ELISA Simulation Kit
211285 Protein Assay 8-Station Kit
211520 DNA Chips: Genes to Disease
211515 Fish Protein Sample Set

Equipment Suggestions:

213714 Carolina® Electrophoresis and Protein Western Blot System

This system includes a Carolina® Vertical Dual Gel Electrophoresis Chamber (item #213713) plus western blot/nucleic acid transfer apparatus. The high quality, leak-proof gel box features a sleek, safe design that is reliable and easy to use. The blot apparatus accommodates 2 gel holder cassettes for western or nucleic acid transfer.

216340 BioBits®: Protein Structure and Function Kit

Using fluorescent proteins as a model, students explore a protein’s primary, secondary, and tertiary structures and relate those structures to protein function in an integrative, hands-on lab. First, students compare different fluorescent protein sequences at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels and use that analysis to predict protein functions. Students then express these fluorescent proteins using a simple cell-free protocol to test their functional predictions.

Advancements in Biotechnology & Biomanufacturing

Biotechnology is a rapidly advancing field of study and career path that necessitates students and practitioners engage in continuous professional development to facilitate the new knowledge and skills needed to remain up to date. Techniques such as CRISPR, RNAi, and ribosomal regulation are but a few of the many recently developed biotechnology procedures that are quickly becoming common routine practice in many laboratories.

216900 CRISPR in a Box™
214805 Genes and ConSEQUENCES Classroom Kit
211404 Detecting Epigenetic DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis Kit

Equipment Suggestions:

214740 Carolina® Shaking Mini Incubator

The Carolina® Shaking Mini Incubator features best-in-class performance in a compact size ideal for any lab bench top. Offering an unmatched miniature footprint, this unit performs a variety of tasks and boasts a large 11-1/2 x 9-1/2″ workspace. The mini incubator includes a standard nonslip platform, or add the optional MAGic Clamp®; Universal Mini Platform (item #214742) for a unique level of versatility.

216330 Making the Cut with CRISPR-Cas9© Set

Model how the Cas9 protein is programmed with RNA to search for and identify specific sequences of DNA before making the double-stranded cut. Explore and discuss how Cas9 is being engineered with new features that make it a useful tool for editing the human genome

Carolina has the kits and supplies needed for your CTE students to master the essential knowledge and workplace skills required for careers in Biotechnology. Don’t see a specific item or content area covered that you need for your CTE Biotechnology course? Contact us for special orders! We stand by our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and will work with you to find what your students need.

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Using a hypothetical scenario of an infant diagnosed with sickle cell disease, students model transcription and translation In a series of investigations using unique magnetic nucleotide bases, develop their own protein translation model, and use clay to demonstrate the physiological effects of the sickle cell mutation.

Sturdy, colorful pieces and magnets make it easy for students to learn the structure and function of DNA by snapping, bending, twisting, and interacting with their own realistic model! Designed with versatility in mind, the Dynamic DNA Kit© can be used to teach not only DNA structure but also DNA replication and DNA transcription, making it an impactful go-to for genetics instruction.

The Disorder Detectives Classroom Kit offers a fresh and engaging approach to teaching karyotyping by challenging students to take on the role of cytogeneticists and diagnose the diseases of 15 unique patients. Using fully reusable materials, students work on case studies by completing patient karyotypes with chromosome decals— with a variety of chromosome abnormalities resulting from nondisjunction, deletion, inversion, and translocation.

Train your students to measure, dispense, and mix liquids accurately with perfection every time. No more waste due to errors and inexperience. Included in this kit are reusable practice gels that will last for years.

Students learn about the importance of clean water in human health, water treatment for microbial contamination, and one of the methods used to test the safety of water for human use.

Investigate infectious diseases safely with this laboratory case study kit. Students examine bacterial growth, applying hands-on skills to learn and practice safe microbiological techniques, including plate streaking, Gram staining, and basic bacterial culturing. Once they master those skills, they then examine antibiotic susceptibility, design an experiment to test for it, and learn to interpret their results.

This classic lab was developed in cooperation with the DNA Learning Center. Students perform restriction digests on bacteriophage lambda DNA, conduct electrophoretic analysis of the reactions, and stain the resulting gel. They then observe and analyze the stained patterns of fragments separated by size during gel electrophoresis.

Allow your students to practice important sterile lab skills for studying microorganisms. Students perform 2 sterile exercises: the transfer of sterile nutrient broth to a culture tube and the transfer of sterile nutrient broth from a culture tube onto a nutrient agar plate. Students must be able to perform both of these exercises without introducing unwanted microorganisms and understand the use of a positive control.

Fluorescence has incredibly powerful applications in the world of science. In this simple yet impactful activity, students examine the relationship between fluorescence intensity and concentration of fluorescent molecules. They use a typical highlighting marker to create a standard curve, giving them the ability to determine the concentration of fluorescent molecules in other samples.

Students evaluate a buffer solution’s buffering capacity and compare the titration curves of a buffer solution and a weak acid. This comparative laboratory exercise can be taught using either a guided or an inquiry activity. In the guided activity, students measure the pH of a citric acid solution titrated with a strong base and plot the titration curve. Students repeat the procedure with a solution prepared from a commercial lemonade mix, which behaves as a buffer and whose primary ingredient is citric acid. Students compare the 2 titration curves, make observations, and address the differences in the curves.

With this one-of-a-kind kit, students purify Taq polymerase, an enzyme used in polymerase chain reactions, from bacteria engineered to produce it, then test the enzyme’s activity by performing PCR with it. As students gain hands-on experience with PCR, they learn the same lab skills used in the biotechnology workplace. Each kit equips 24 students to produce and validate their own Taq polymerase.

In this lab, students perform “chunking,” a simple way to move worms from one plate to another. They then observe the morphology, life cycle, and behavior of both wild-type and mutant worms. The observation that different mutants have different phenotypes emphasizes the relationship of genotype to different phenotype.

This PTC Taster: Extraction, Amplification, and Electrophoresis Kit with CarolinaBLU® and 0.2-mL Tubes (with perishables) explores the molecular basis of the inherited ability to taste the bitter chemical phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Students determine their ability to taste PTC using taste paper, use safe saline mouthwash and Chelex® extraction to obtain a sample of their own DNA, amplify a 221-nucleotide region of the PTC taste receptor gene, and

perform restriction digestion to differentiate the 2 alleles by gel electrophoresis to determine how well the SNP genotypes actually correlate to tasting.

Students observe a natural method of gene transfer. The harmless bacterial virus T4 transmits an ampicillin-resistance gene to E. coli. Students also observe the killing of E. coli by the bacteriophage. For more advanced students, a discussion of nonsense mutations and nonsense suppressing mutations is included with the teacher background information.

Electrophoresis of precut DNA with an analytical application. Students cast gels and perform electrophoresis of ready-to-load samples of predigested plasmid DNA. After staining with CarolinaBLU® stain, students determine the sizes of the plasmid DNA fragments in each sample and use the data to deduce a restriction map of the plasmid. Kit contains sufficient materials for 8 teams of students to perform the exercise.

Using β-thalassemia as a medical example, students explore the phenomenon of gene regulation in this hands-on kit. As students progress through the lab, they will answer why changes in the DNA sequence in front of a gene affect how much functional protein is produced by the gene. They will also use a new plasmid in a transformation experiment that includes a gene for kanamycin resistance. They learn to utilize IPTG as a compound to turn on gene expression for certain promoters. Finally, students will successfully transform plasmid to produce green fluorescent protein (GFP).

This biology lab explores the engineering of a yeast that’s genetically modified to produce ß-carotene. Use PCR to test the metabolic pathway of modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae as part of the engineering design-build-test pathway and investigate how to make it possible for users to bake vitamin A-enriched loaves of bread. Electrophoresis is performed to visualize results of transformation.

Explore a modern application of genetic engineering through this exciting laboratory activity. Many commercial crops are genetically modified (GM) to include a transferred gene (transgene) for herbicide resistance. This activity investigates whether the soy or corn ingredients in various processed foods contain a genetic modification.

This lab illustrates the use of DNA typing to identify individuals in court cases and disasters. It assays for variable numbers of tandem repeats (VNTR) polymorphisms, which are caused by short, repeated copies of a 16-nucleotide sequence at the pMCT118 locus. Differences in the number of repeated units produce longer and shorter alleles, which can be resolved by gel electrophoresis. Because the VNTR locus has more than 29 different alleles, a panel of student types shows a variety of different genotypes.

Provide your students an authentic biomedical biotechnology experience with the HNPCC: Detecting Inherited Forms of Cancer Kit. Presented with a patient family case study pertaining to an inherited form of colon cancer, students first create a family pedigree. They then use gel electrophoresis to analyze a simulated DNA-based diagnostic test of samples from the fictitious family and identify which members have inherited the cancer-causing mutation. After deciphering their results, students take on the role of genetic counselor to discuss test results with one of the family members.

Introduce bio-engineering concepts and teach synthetic biology techniques by having students modify stinky bacteria into bacteria that smell like bananas. Use this lab to investigate the design and placement of promoters to determine gene expression. Collect class data to compare quantitative and qualitative results of microbial population growth dynamics.

Students take a new approach to taxonomy using “DNA barcodes”—short, unique DNA sequences—to learn about the biodiversity of plants, mammals, fish, or insects. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on specific regions of the rbcL or COI gene, students amplify their extracted DNA to create unique barcodes. These amplified sequences (amplicons) are then submitted for sequencing and can be analyzed using our custom-designed online tool, DNA Subway.

Accessing the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database, students use the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) to compare their sequences to gene segments published in the database. Using a case study approach, students continue to explore their sequences as they work to determine the location and role of their gene in a disease. Kit is designed to continually reinforce the central dogma of biology and give students basic knowledge of these database tools.

Utilize methylation-sensitive enzymes to explore epigenetics—heritable changes in gene expression—that affect flowering in Arabidopsis. By growing wild-type Ler and mutant fwa-1 plants, students are able to observe phenotypic differences in flowering and then investigate this difference using multiple molecular techniques. Students conduct DNA extraction, restriction enzyme digest, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and bioinformatics to investigate the pivotal role DNA methylation plays in gene regulation.

Explore infectious diseases using a hands-on simulated ELISA assay. ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) is a common laboratory technique used to test blood serum for antibodies against disease-causing agents. Using the ELISA Simulation Kit, students work in pairs to diagnose 6 fictitious patients for HIV, Lyme disease, avian influenza (bird flu), or West Nile virus with 1 simulated antigen. Hypothetical scenarios are provided for each patient being tested for each disease.

Students use a standard curve to analyze data in this experiment. They gather data by performing a BCA assay to determine the amount of protein in a standard versus 3 different food samples (included). Optionally, they can supply and test a fourth liquid food sample of their choosing. A spectrophotometer is used to obtain numerical values and absorbances of dilutions of the standard and the samples. Students graph absorbance versus protein concentration for the standard and use the resulting curve to interpolate the concentration of protein in the samples.

This microarray simulation provides an inexpensive, hands-on lab to introduce students to microarrays, the complexities of gene expression, and the role of gene expression in cancer. Using simulated microarray technology, students compare the relative expression levels of 6 different genes in healthy lung cells and lung cancer cells. Students then discuss the significance of the relative expression levels with respect to the genes’ roles in causing cancer.

Explore the evolution of fish species through protein analysis. Students perform polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on extracted muscle protein mixtures from 7 different types of fish. Students compare the protein fingerprints from the 7 different types of fish, hypothesize on the degree of relatedness of the fish, and compare their ideas to a standard evolutionary tree of fish.

An AUTHENTIC Gene Editing Experience Available Only from Carolina

Discover CRISPR technology the way it was meant to be with this truly unique, hands-on CRISPR gene editing kit. Designed to be safe and approachable, the kit activities break down each portion of the gene editing reaction into fundamental steps, offering teachable moments along the way.