Transforming bacteria to produce human insulin

Thank you for confirming your school’s participation in this program.  The program is divided into three parts with delivery shared between classroom and online activities and a visit to GTAC.

  • A pre-task run at your school for Part A: Plasmid diagnostics using DNA gel electrophoresis.  Students will be able to view video clips, construct a paper-based model of a recombinant plasmid, and complete fillable PDF worksheets. Students can access this through Students > Learning Resources > Transforming bacteria to produce human insulin
  • Onsite program at GTAC in which students apply techniques in biotechnology to the practical component of Part A and Part B: Transforming bacteria with the insulin A chain/GFP DNA construct;
  • A post-task run at your school exploring a case study in Part C: Preparing eukaryotic DNA sequences for expression in bacteria


Materials to support your students are provided below:

  1. Advice to teachers 2023
  2. Student materials and activities (click here to view) – making a model of a recombinant plasmid
  3. Risk assessment for the student practical at GTAC


Please note that you will also receive the suggested solutions to the fillable PDFs directly by email.  Students will record data and question responses in fillable PDFs for the pre- and post-tasks.  They will complete a digital logbook while at GTAC and a PDF of the logbook will be emailed to you.


To support students with information regarding the mode of action of insulin and its chemical signalling pathway, direct them to the GTAC video Chemical signalling: Insulin or the GTAC online course Chemical signalling: Insulin.


To support students with information regarding polymerase chain reaction (PCR), direct them to the GTAC online course Polymerase chain reaction.


Please note that students use GFP as the reporter gene for their practical work at GTAC.  VCAA advises that students need to know that β-galactosidase is the reporter gene normally used for recombinant insulin production.