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DNA from the Beginning


DNA from the Beginning

Logo for DNA from the Beginning
DNA from the Beginning is an animated tutorial on DNA, genes and heredity. The science behind each concept is explained using animations related to DNA topics, an image gallery, video interviews, problems, biographies, and links related to DNA. There are three sections, Classical Genetics, Molecules of Genetics and Organization of Genetic Material. Key features are the clear explanations of classical experiments and the excellent photographs of researchers and their labs.For information and... More
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Material Type: Simulation
Technical Format: Website
Date Added to MERLOT: April 11, 2000
Date Modified in MERLOT: February 23, 2017
Submitter: Jeff Bell
Keywords: genetics, DNA, History about DNA, genes, DNA models


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Primary Audience: College General Ed
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements:

Flash 3 and RealAudio

Language: English
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: no
Accessibility Information Available: no
Creative Commons: no


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Discussion for DNA from the Beginning

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Avatar for amr farouk
3 years ago

amr farouk (Teacher (K-12))

it is very helpful

Avatar for Antonio Mendieta
18 weeks ago

Antonio Mendieta (Student)

Muy bueno

Time spent reviewing site: 2 horas
Used in course

Avatar for Wolf Georg Tews
27 weeks ago

Wolf Georg Tews (Content Developer/Author)

This material has a clear structure, is easy to navigate and is cut in slices which are easy to learn. It offers a wide variety of media and has for any learning style and learning level something to offer. Great Job!

Time spent reviewing site: 30 Minutes

Avatar for ayşegül akıncı
42 weeks ago

ayşegül akıncı (Teacher (K-12))


Avatar for Arnie Schoenberg
1 year ago

Arnie Schoenberg (Faculty)

The Problem section in each concept is excellent. I will try to rework many of these as online quizzes for my class.

Personally, I think the apology for their role in the eugenics movement could be stronger.

Time spent reviewing site: 2 hours
Used in course

Avatar for Devon Huynh
1 year ago

Devon Huynh (Student)

Useful website to understand the basics of genetics.

Avatar for jairo contreras
1 year ago

jairo contreras (Student)


Avatar for Chris Sorensen
1 year ago

Chris Sorensen (Faculty)

This resource offers a nice mix of text, images, animations, and videos. I could see this being a very nice supplemental resouce to help students reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.

Avatar for Kimberly Barss
2 years ago

Kimberly Barss (Staff)

This resource is great! I recommend it to everyone that I work with whose courses cover genetics!

Avatar for carmelo carbone
2 years ago

carmelo carbone (Student)

This is a very useful tool to use for teaching Mendel and genetics. The site gives you a bunch of options where you can show videos and animations. For example, there is a video on Mendel where he shows how he cross pollinated two pea plants. The students can get a better understanding of the concept by just watching the animation and reading the captions.

Avatar for Jamie Medlock
2 years ago

Jamie Medlock (Student)

This is extremely helpful, I would definitely utilize this when covering Mendel and genetics.

Avatar for Daniel MacDevitt
3 years ago

Daniel MacDevitt (Teacher (K-12))

Almost too much information. That's a good thing!

Time spent reviewing site: 10 minutes

Avatar for Lahiru Kannangara
3 years ago

Lahiru Kannangara (Student)

excellent website

Avatar for Lisa Shaffer
3 years ago

Lisa Shaffer (Student)

This is a great resource for learning genetics. Love the different levels of learning and how you can tailor the lessons based on what you are currently learning in the classroom

Time spent reviewing site: 45 minutes
Used in course

Avatar for Catherine Clendenin Schwartz
3 years ago

Catherine Clendenin Schwartz (Faculty)

There is a lot of information on this site, from reading materiasl to videos, animations, and supplementary links.  The information is clear and easy to understand. Just about any topic that you would want to cover in class concerning DNA and genetics is covered here, along with some extra interesting information. 

Technical Remarks:

The videos and the animations both played on the school computers, which isn't always the case. 

Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes

Avatar for Jim Bidlack
3 years ago

Jim Bidlack (Faculty)

This site does a good job for learning about DNA from the beginning.

Technical Remarks:

This site requires java.

Time spent reviewing site: Around 10 minutes.

Avatar for Dennis Frisby
4 years ago

Dennis Frisby (Faculty)

This is a great website and I plan on using it in some of my future courses.

Avatar for Biwedeou Magnan
4 years ago

Biwedeou Magnan (Student)

I think this website is a great tool when it comes to introduicing the notion of genetics in middle or high school level. I particularly found interesting the various animations the use which is appropriate for middle school students. They also have practice problems for each concepts they introduce which is great to nail down the concept learned. As a teacher, this website will help me a lot in teaching Genetics and the notion of DNA which is sometime very abstract for younger kids to grasp.

Avatar for Francesca Catalano
4 years ago

Francesca Catalano (Administrator)

This is a very useful site for a gen ed biology course.

Avatar for Anil Kapoor
5 years ago

Anil Kapoor (Faculty)

wow great videos!! I have included them in my into to biology class

Avatar for Denia Perez Guzman
5 years ago

Denia Perez Guzman (Faculty)

Para profesores de enseñanza basica y media ecelente material, contiene los principios basicos de la herencia, ayuda a comprender la naturaleza del material genetico

Avatar for javier tobar araya
5 years ago

javier tobar araya (Faculty)

Sirve para comparar la reproducción sexual tanto en  vegetales como animales, donde gracias a las presentaciones existe una reproducción clara y precisa de como se comporta el material genetico en dichas reproducciones. facilitando el entendimiento de la información.

Used in course

Avatar for Liliana Soledad Rivera lersundi
5 years ago

Liliana Soledad Rivera lersundi (Faculty)

Me parece un excelente material, que incorpora información muy fácil de manejar y entender tando para el docente como para el alumno ya que integra desde la historia de esta ciencia y sus interrelaciones con otras ciencias hasta su aplicación en la actualidad en las terapias moleculares. Además abarca aspectos diversos incorporando las experiencia en el área vegetal (Genética Mendeliana) hasta los cromosomas (Watson  y Crick).

Technical Remarks:

Me resulta un material muy pertinente para ser utilizado en el aula pues es muy didactico, con información simple y muy clara, facil de usar y de calidad ya que presenta imágenes pertinentes y atractivas

Used in course

Avatar for Albert Russell
5 years ago

Albert Russell (Faculty)

All I can say is wow.  I am not a biologist but this made understanding DNA very easy for me.  I will recommend this to my students that are also enrolled in genetics.

Time spent reviewing site: 10-20 min

Avatar for Vimlarani Chopra
5 years ago

Vimlarani Chopra (Faculty)

This was an interesting collection of animations that will be very useful for their use in the classroom. It clearly explains the concept why DNA is an important macromolecule for all living systems, which clearly serves as an example of unity in diversity. DNA topics, an image gallery, video interviews, photographs, problems, biographies, and links related to DNA are exemplary. There are three sections, Classical Genetics, Molecules of Genetics and Organization of Genetic Material. Classical experiments are well explained.

Technical Remarks:

I enjoyed going through the animations and would like to insert some of my own in future.

Avatar for Lynn Middleton
5 years ago

Lynn Middleton (Faculty)

I will use this material when we get to the genetics portion of the class.  I think it will help the students to visualize some of the processes we talk about.

Time spent reviewing site: 30 minutes

Avatar for Samantha Harding
6 years ago

Samantha Harding (Faculty)

I find this clear, easy to follow and interesting.  I will definitely incorporate this into my next genetics module

Technical Remarks:

Sometimes difficult to navigate simply because of the wealth of choices.

Time spent reviewing site: 1 hour

Avatar for Sergio Alejandro Asencio Guzman
6 years ago

Sergio Alejandro Asencio Guzman (Faculty)


Avatar for Pat Donohue Ph.D.
6 years ago

Pat Donohue Ph.D. (Educational Researcher & Consultant)

I have not used this particular site, but have taught the classical genetics material in classes. If you cannot have students actively doing the studies with each other face-to-face, this is the next best thing! Individuals can interact intelligently with the material and it would be an excellent supplement to pairs or small group investigations. The problems require clear critical thinking.
Time spent reviewing site: Approximately 1 hour.

Avatar for Bill Blankenbehler
6 years ago

Bill Blankenbehler (Student)

I recommend this to any beginning genetics students. The information is presented in a clear, organized approach with an animated design. This maintains attention while covering history and theories that could otherwise become dry topics for discussion.

Avatar for Inna Plugovaya
6 years ago

Inna Plugovaya (Student)

I really liked the organization of the the website, the toolbar on the right side was very useful in making navigation simple. I like that the information was provided in small chunks and was simple to understand. I also liked that there was not only text to read, but there were videos and animations as well.

Technical Remarks:

I did not encounter and technical issues.
Time spent reviewing site: I spent about 2 hours on the site (there is a lot of information to go through).

Avatar for Valerie Schmitz
7 years ago

Valerie Schmitz (Faculty)

This site provides simple animations and explanations along with a nice mixture of text and video.
Time spent reviewing site: 20 minutes

Avatar for ryan mudry
7 years ago

ryan mudry (Faculty)

The thing that I like most about the website, is that it is very simple looking and provides information in small chunks. I felt that as I went through the activities, questions that came up in my mind where answered on the next slide. In other words, it seemed really natural. I can see using this site as homework for students and for lesson plan ideas, I probably wouldn't use it during class though.

Technical Remarks:

It is a basic webpage. Does not require any installation of software, and is free.
Time spent reviewing site: ~20 minutes

Avatar for Julia Stirling
7 years ago

Julia Stirling

I love this resource because it covers many different topics related to DNA. There is everything from Mendel's pea plants, to chromosomes, to the structure of DNA. I liked this aspect since it could be used in many different lessons on DNA or genes and will have specific information for the topic that is being studied. I also liked the information on the scientists that studied the particular aspect of DNA. It is a fun way to integrate the history of science into the curriculum. It would have been even more useful if some of the scientists had a little bit more information on them, instead of just their names and pictures. Some were explained in greater length, but not all. I didn't particularly like the organization of the site. I am happy and excited for the multitude of topics, but it was a little overwhelming as I was looking at the different topics. The topics were not organized in a usable way that teachers or students could easily locate the topic they want to learn about. It would be more useful if the topics were under subtopics of more general titles, so that the information that was needed could be more easily located. If a teacher were to use one of the pages for a lesson, they would have to look through all of the topics first to find the one that works best with the lesson. Once they found the right topic, it would be great for the student to explore, it would just be time consuming to actually locate that topic that would work with your lesson.

Technical Remarks:

I loved the animation that was used throughout the site. I think that it would keep students interested in the information and make the information more comprehensible. Any demonstrations like the ones on the site, help science come alive for students and give them a more concrete visual for science procedures and concepts. This type of resource would be especially useful for visual learners.

Avatar for Olivia Collins
7 years ago

Olivia Collins (Student)

This a great resource. There are tons of visuals and animations that can be very beneficial to students. It is broken up into three sections: Classical Genetics, Molecules of Genetics, and Genetic Organization. Within each section there are 10-15 subsections that all include Concepts, Animation, Gallery/Images, Audio/Video, Bio, and Problems. This resource thoroughly explains concepts and provides great visuals for students.
Used in course

Avatar for Sam Luu
7 years ago

Sam Luu (Student)

This is one of the better pages I've came across! Very informative and interesting!

Technical Remarks:

This site is awesome! Has tons of multimedia to help anyone understand more about DNA. Big font makes it easier to read.
Time spent reviewing site: 30 minutes

Avatar for DeAnn Ambroson
8 years ago

DeAnn Ambroson (Faculty)

I very much enjoyed moving through the various sections in this material. The organization was well thought out and the navigation was quite easy. Well done!

Technical Remarks:

I appreciate all the variation. Some on-screen reading was provided. Some animation was provided. Some videos were provided. Some interaction was presented. Well done!

Avatar for Suwalee Buasuwan
8 years ago

Suwalee Buasuwan (Staff)

The animation of DNA is clear and good to drescripe
Time spent reviewing site: an hour

Avatar for Mark Rieger
8 years ago

Mark Rieger (Administrator)

outstanding - timeless, simple, and effective

Avatar for Ana Castorena
8 years ago

Ana Castorena (Student)

Lots of information. Teacher can use it to pull information. Older students can handle the site. Lots of reading. The right side could be organized better, the font is too small.

Technical Remarks:

Easy to navigate. Links open in new window. Video clips open on site page.
Time spent reviewing site: approx. 15 mins.

Avatar for Margaret Trim
8 years ago

Margaret Trim (Faculty)

I recommend this site to all teachers. It was very thorough and students of all ages were able to grasp the concepts. I especially liked the short, but information packed, dialogues.

Technical Remarks:

I found it easy to use.
Time spent reviewing site: 10 minutes.
Used in course

Avatar for Jason Bingel
8 years ago

Jason Bingel (Staff)

I spent about a half an hour reviewing the DNA from the beginnings presentation tool. I found it to be interesting yet informative. I thought the content was well presented in a fashion which made it easier to learn. This tool used animation, video, and sound to create a learning environment which is conducive to all learning styles. The site ran quickly and smoothly and without error. I would recommend to anyone trying to give a visual representation of DNA to a high school class.

Technical Remarks:

This tool was extremely easy to navigate through. It would be ok for a beginner/novice to use the tool in the classroom setting.

8 years ago


Hi to all the other members.My classes and i find it to be helpful in many ways.One thing i have to say if your child or students have trouble with physics,genetics,biology,..Get this book!It keeps the focus and it is simple.

Technical Remarks:

The book needs more of a "mature foundation".Simply meaning that it needs to be something more.It is still a good book

Avatar for Ronald Jackson
9 years ago

Ronald Jackson

I am planning to get this for my up and coming Genetics Class. I hear it is a great source for reference on anything regarding Genetics.

Avatar for neethu joseph
9 years ago

neethu joseph (Student)

this is really really useful.I felt genetics very intresting after entering the site.thanks to the submitter.!!

Avatar for Katie Farnworth
9 years ago

Katie Farnworth (Student)

I’ve always been interested in genetics and this website is a fun way to review and learn new things related to that topic. The animations and problems are great interactive devices to allow one to think about what is being presented. The audio visual interviews presented many facts in a way that is more interesting and fun than just reading.

Avatar for chad whitermore
10 years ago

chad whitermore (Student)

I enjoyed the visual DNA graphics. It tends to allow you to enjoy what you're learning much easier than writing on paper. Thanks!

Avatar for Valerie Howell
10 years ago

Valerie Howell (Student)

This site offered great animation and clear instructions. The site ran quickly and with out error. This is a great tool for any upper level highschool science teacher and a great resource for students to use.

Avatar for Nate Graham
10 years ago

Nate Graham (Student)

This website is easy to use and has very quick animation. I feel that it would
be a great aid in a high school biology class or at the college level. i
thought that the set up of the website, makes it easy to find what you are
looking for in genetics, DNA, or general questions. The graphics make it very
easy to understand the piont of the animation.
Used in course

Avatar for Saurabh Singh
10 years ago

Saurabh Singh (Staff)

Excellent. Great graphics, easy to understand and use.

Avatar for Desiree Allyn
11 years ago

Desiree Allyn (Student)

Outstanding graphics and in depth portrayals of topics. A powerful learning
device for novice and expert alike.
Used in course

Avatar for Salvador Sanchez
11 years ago

Salvador Sanchez (Faculty)

Excellent material, very comprehensive and useful.
It is as good as it is even "addictive": you can not stop learning.
The content is very well organized and it is very easy to use it.

Technical Remarks:

Quick animations. Fairly good design although some drawings sould be improved (a
very very minor fault, and based in my personal opinion).
Used in course

Avatar for angela landsman
12 years ago

angela landsman (Student)

I am a fourth year college student. I was instructed by my college professor to
join merlot and to review three websites and pick my favorite. This was my

I feel this website was of the highest quality. It provided a vast array of
information in an enjoyable manner. The webpages were setup in such a way that
you don't realize how much you are learning until you have completed the
"lesson". I am currently taking a genetics course at South Dakota State
University, and we have or are currently covering many of these topics. I found
it much more effective to "view" the experiments rather than merely hear about
them. The videos and sound were excellent and I appreciated the animation
allowing me to move at my own pace. I was not forced to move through too
quickly, or drug along for a long ride.

I believe this site would be beneficial to any student who learns well by seeing
and hearing the topic in pictures and sound simultaneously.

I found this site to be extremely easy to navigate. The side menu options are
always the best way to go. I appreciated being able to select the next topic
quickly. I also thought the tabs on the bottom of the page which allowed the
selection of different functions without using the "back" button were efficient.
Used in course

Avatar for JoDale Ales
14 years ago

JoDale Ales (Faculty)

I reviewed this site for about an hour initially, then returned to it to plan
how to use it in my general biology classes. I plan to use it in March.

Quality of Content: Comprehensive, accurate
information from classical genetics to today?s advances in molecular genetics.
The credibility of the source, the DNA Learning Lab at Cold Spring Harbor Lab,
insures that learner that the information is ?first hand? and accurate. Much of
the content is presented by the actual researchers (primary sources) and
reflects the
realism of day-to-day lab research conducted by real people. Wonderful
historical reflection on DNA research as well as today?s progress.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool:
This source addresses a variety of leaning styles by using tutorials,
explanation of terms, audio/visual,animations, and interaction during the
problem phase. The links are helpful to instructors and/or serve as a
springboard for student reflections or projects on the
topic. The information is presented in ways that are relevant to learners and
the problem-solving approach helps learners advance to a higher level of
learning and reasoning. This approach leads to more meaningful learning than
just memorization. The lessons teach for
understanding. These activities also expose learners to real science and the
people who have contributed to our knowledge of DNA. They show that science is
a means of
problem solving that can be applied to other contexts.
An index of content could be helpful, especially for students who are unfamiliar
with the content. If it ould be more interactive (not just tutorial) the
learners could be more involved.

Ease of Use: No problems here. It was very well organized and the format was
consistent. Learners can focus on the content and not be bogged down with
navigation issues.

MERLOT rating scale: Quality of Content ******
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool ****
Ease of Use*****

JoDale Ales

Used in course

Avatar for Thomas Lonergan
15 years ago

Thomas Lonergan (Faculty)

I use this site when teaching a sophomore core course in cell and molecular
biology. The tutorials and assignments that animate classical experiments, such
as the Griffith transformation, Hershey & Chase and the Meselson & Stahl
experiments are excellent. Using them in a classroom setting allowed me to
cover the material in one half the ususal time, and allowed me to ask more
thought provoking questions on the exam. Students seemed to comprehend the
experimental designs faster and better, and commented very positively on the
supplemental use of this site.