We can offer a range of lab sessions in our life science centre exploring DNA extraction, PCR, Gel electrophoresis, RFLP and recombinant DNA technology. These labs explore topics ranging from ecology and conservation, forensics, and medicine. We can combine labs to follow a particular theme or you can pick and choose to showcase the wide range of applications of gene technology. The vast majority of labs involve Gel Electrophoresis (Core practical 14). Many groups choose to split their residential time between lab sessions and ecology and/ or outdoor adventure sessions to enable students to build on their teamwork and communication skills or gain experience of a wider range of practical techniques.
Max number: 12
Lab sessions to choose from:
The Polymerase Chain Reaction and Gel Electrophoresis in Medicine
Students are challenged to investigate medical patients and breast cancer gene mutations. Students have the opportunity to conduct a full medical inquiry to assess whether or not patients carry a gene mutation. This will include a Polymerase Chain Reaction and Gel Electrophoresis and in-depth tutoring of each topic. Pupils will also carry out discussion on the ethical repercussions of genetic screening.
Genetic Engineering and Insulin
Students have the opportunity to investigate the production Humulin and its applications. Students will be part of an industry standard lab team working together to select and grow bacterial clones that are suspected to contain insulin inserts. Students must carry out a series of enzyme digests and gel electrophoresis visualisations to determine whether or not their selected clone contains an insulin insert.
Fish DNA Barcoding
Students investigate global fish stocks and ecological impacts. As part of a lab team students will extract DNA from a sample and carry out Polymerase Chain Reaction to amplify their extracted DNA. This DNA is then sent to a state of the art processing facility where it will contribute to global data sets. Back at school students will receive there fully sequenced DNA Barcode. This course comes with a complete range of pre and post course resources to fully tie the experience into your working curriculum.
Species Identification using Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism
Students will investigate restriction fragment length polymorphism by using restriction enzymes to identify different species of prey from DNA extracted from Owl pellets. Students will use gel electrophoresis to visualise the banding of DNA and compare their results to a genetic library in order to ascertain the main prey type of barn owls. This session provides an opportunity for synoptic links to be made to populations and ecosystems. Students can also be given the opportunity to dissect an owl pellet to identify species using skeletal evidence.
Analysis of forensic evidence: DNA extraction and Restriction enzymes
Students will be challenged to identify the perpetrator of a book theft from forensic evidence left at the crime scene. Students will extract DNA from blood samples and carry out genetic fingerprinting using restriction enzymes identifying variable number tandem repeats. Samples will be analysed using Gel electrophoresis.
Analysis of forensic evidence: DNA Extraction and PCR
Students will be challenged to identify the perpetrator of a book theft from forensic evidence left at the crime scene. Students will extract DNA from blood samples and carry out genetic fingerprinting using PCR primers that identify Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). Samples will be analysed using Gel electrophoresis.
Core Practical 15: The effect of different antibiotics on bacteria
Students will investigate the effect of different antibiotics on E.coli using mast rings and paper discs as a negative control. Students will calculate the zone of inhibition for each antibiotic section and for the negative control. Depending on course structure and length, students may have the opportunity to prepare their own petri dishes and E.coli samples in preparation for this practical.
How this course fulfills the specification
- Topic 6: Immunity, Infection and Forensics
- Core Practical 14: Use Gel electrophoresis to separate DNA fragments of different length
- Core Practical 15: The effect of different antibiotics on bacteria
- 1: Follow written procedures
- 2: Applies investigative approaches and methods when using instruments and equipment
- 3: Safely uses a range of practical equipment and materials
- 4: Makes and records observations
Added value of this course
- Access to industrial standard laboratory equipment
- Fun, immersive and engaging lab session that brings the subject to life
- Students work in a lab team, with assigned roles and responsibilities; building skills in teamwork and communication
- Opportunity to combine labs with ecological sampling practical skills to gain experience of a wider range of practical techniques.
- Opportunity to combine labs with outdoor activity sessions to encourage resilience, teamwork and communication skills.