Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 2, Day 2) – Genetics II (Mrs. Jones)
It was another great day in Genetics! Today was all about DNA and boy did we learn a lot! I was so proud of how well your kids tackled some pretty complex topics in genetics!
We learned all about the structure of DNA, specifically how the sugar-phosphate backbone and the nitrogenous bases come together to look like twisted ladder. We also learned about DNA replication and how the process relies on the double-stranded nature of DNA to make sure that every cell has the same genetic material. We even extracted DNA from our cheek cells and strawberries! Remember how yesterday we talked about how the cell is like the city? Well, the DNA extraction process involved getting rid of some key elements of our city in order to free the DNA. So, fair warning, your student may come home and tell you they destroyed a city (the cell membrane) and its people (the proteins), but rest assured, no one was harmed in today’s learning adventures!
After we finished our DNA extraction experiment, we learned that DNA provides the directions for making proteins in our cells and that this occurs through the processes of transcription and translation. With this, we talked about the difference between genotype (what our DNA says) and phenotype (the traits actually displayed) and how some traits are dominant and others are recessive.
We finished our day with a field trip to the BioVU facilities at the VU Medical Center. BioVU is a DNA biobank where DNA is extracted from blood or saliva leftover from hospital tests and stored for use by researchers at Vanderbilt. We saw the many different robotic machines responsible for these tasks and learned about how these machines extract DNA in much the same way that we did this morning.
I had so much fun today and I hope your kids did as well!