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Summer SAVY 2023 Session 1, Day 5 – Dabbling with DNA

Posted by on Monday, June 19, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 5: It’s Friday!  This morning we covered two more topics before continuing work on the GMO project.  We examined blood types and saw that dominant phenotypes are not always the most common.  Many of them were curious about their blood type, and the fact that they had been tested as an infant for blood type and several genetic diseases.  I mentioned PKU disease as one of the genetic diseases for which they were tested.  We then studied transcription and translation, the processes where DNA is used as the template to make RNA, and then RNA is used as the template to make proteins.  They practiced creating a sequence of RNA nucleotides and amino acids.  If they brought that worksheet home, there are additional examples.  We finished out the morning continuing work on the project.   

After lunch, groups continued doing research and began putting together their GMO presentations.  Some of the students brought them home.  Our last activity was a tour of VANTAGE, Vanderbilt’s genomics core technology laboratory.  We were shown the machines (robots!) that they use to process blood samples for DNA isolation, how they store and access the many DNA samples that they have, and the DNA sequencing machines.  Lab manager, and tour guide, Karen showed them how they work and covered the basics of DNA sequencing.  The “refrigerator” where DNA samples are stored is an amazing piece of machinery and the student enjoyed seeing how samples are withdrawn.  We were short on time but back in the classroom we put up the GMO posters and had a mini-poster session.  If your child’s poster didn’t make it home pictures of them have been shared with the SAVY staff.  They did a great job on their posters and enjoyed learning about GMOs.  A couple of students asked about books.  While I’m more accustomed to high school-level students and texts, the title below should be at an appropriate level for your child.  And the University of Utah has an easy-to-use and very informative website on all things genetics.  Thank you for sharing your wonderful, energetic, and inquisitive children this week.  I enjoyed working with them and gained an appreciation for elementary school teachers.    

A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Genetics: Discover What Makes You, You!, Sonya Kulkarni 

Genetics: Breaking the Code of Your DNA, Carla Mooney