In our show (So Called) Life, we interviewed undergrads at MIT giving bacteria genes to make them smell minty fresh. If you are at all disquieted that such young minds are given such profound tools, sorry, bioengineers are getting ever younger. As part of a program designed to help teachers in NYC schools run a DNA transformation lab, I've seen 5th graders engineer bacteria to glow like a certain species of jellyfish found off the coast of Washington State.
These 10-year-olds readily absorb the concept that the DNA code is universal and that bacteria swap and take up bits of DNA in the form of plasmids. Using this information, they predicted the expected results before the experiment. 'Why shouldn't bacteria glow in the dark?' they said. 'As long as they have the instructions, it's easy!'
Tell us what your little scientists are doing these days!