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Modeling the lac Operon to Understand the Regulation of Gene Expression in Prokaryotes

By Sam S Donovan

University of Pittsburgh

This resource is a recitation activity designed for an introductory biology course in which students explore a lac operon simulation (

Listed in Teaching Materials

Version 1.0 - published on 27 Sep 2019 doi:10.25334/ESGF-TM72 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms



This recitation activity consists of several short activities and guiding questions that support students' exploration of a lac operon simulation.  After becoming familiar with the simulation, students use the simulation to study the control of LacZ production and lactose transport across the cell membrane. 

This activity was designed for use in an introductory biology course.  Students worked in small groups to complete this activity during recitation.   


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This activity uses resources developed as part of the PhET Project ( at the University of Colorado - Boulder. This simulation can be run on the QUBES servers ( 

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