Summer SAVY 2023 Session 1, Day 4 – Dabbling with DNA
Day 4: Good evening! This morning we reviewed how atoms are arranged into molecules and saw that DNA is a good example of a polymer, a macromolecule made of repeating subunits called nucleotides. The students made drawings of a series of nucleotides creating a short stretch of DNA. They saw that while a portion of each nucleotide is the same in each of the four, the nitrogen base portion of the nucleotide is different, and yields the so-called DNA sequence. We stressed that it is the sequence of nitrogen bases that makes each person’s DNA different. My hope is that they see how different alleles have different sequences. Feel free to ask them about the relationship between the genome, chromosomes, genes, alleles, and the DNA sequence. We finished the morning building a model of DNA using Twizzlers, small multi-colored marshmallows, and toothpicks.
In the afternoon we learned about restriction enzymes, DNA electrophoresis, DNA profiling, and GMOs. After seeing how we use restriction enzymes to cut a large piece of DNA into smaller pieces, we can use electrophoresis to separate those pieces and create a DNA profile. They analyzed a “crime”, carried out the basic steps in creating a DNA profile, and figured out who committed the crime1. We finished out the day learning about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and they began doing research on a particular GMO. (They were also taught that if they are going to use an acronym like GMO, they first have to spell out the complete phrase.) Tomorrow we will finish our research and they will create a poster to present their findings.
Unfortunately, our field trip to the lab was rescheduled due to weather; tomorrow, we will visit the lab in the afternoon. Please ensure students are in closed-toed shoes to comply with lab policy again tomorrow!