Because the cellular processes of yeast are relatively easy to manipulate, it has been extensively used as a model organism in biotechnology research. Like human cells, yeast cells have a nucleus containing chromosomes with tightly packaged DNA. Yeast also contains enzymes that react with carbohydrates in a reaction called fermentation. Fermentation of sugars by yeast produces ethyl alcohol. This process has led to a recent biotechnology breakthroughs leading to painkilling medicines. These are just a few of the many reasons yeast has been and will remain a crucial tool for mankind.
In this lower-secondary module, students investigate yeast under a microscope, consider whether its characteristics make it living or nonliving, and then discuss some of the ways that humans use it.
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Biotech & Medicine