Program details

Students will apply their knowledge of the structure and function of DNA molecule to examine how molecular tools and techniques can be used to manipulate the molecule for a particular purpose. Students will experience gene technologies used to address human issues and consider their social and ethical implications. Students are given the opportunity to utilise DNA manipulation technology including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis.

Students will apply DNA manipulation techniques by testing themselves for a gene through cheek swabs. They will analyse the results of the genetic testing process to see whether they have the gene which allows some people to taste a bitter compound called PTC. On completion of this masterclass, students should be able to describe how tools and techniques can be used to explain how biological knowledge is applied to biotechnical applications, and analyse the interrelationship between scientific knowledge and its applications in society.

Please note: Parental permission is required for students under the age of 18 to use their cheek swab.

Success Criteria:

  • Understanding of enzymes including endonucleases (restriction enzymes) and polymerases
  • Amplification of DNA using polymerase chain reaction
  • Use of gel electrophoresis in sorting DNA fragments, including interpretation of gel runs