Y13s' Genetic Experience

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14 Oct 2022

Mr Morden, Mrs Nath and the Y13 biologists had a great experience at Oxford University Natural History Museum Labs.

The day started with a taste test to see which of them could taste a bitter chemical. Some of them not tasting anything as they were mutants, some of them a bit of a taste and some very nasty!

This was followed with a series of genetic laboratory techniques throughout the day to identify any mutations in their DNA for the bitter taste receptor. They started by extracting their own DNA and then they amplified the gene for the taste receptor using PCR. This gene was then targeted with specific enzymes to look for the mutation. Finally followed by using gel electrophoresis and UV light to visualise with a DNA fingerprint who had the gene and mutation. Very interesting to then see the correlation with the taste test at the start of the day.

During the day they also had time to look at some of the exhibits of arthropods and hominid skulls to discuss convergent and human evolution. A lot of new skills and concepts learned by all of them as well as being a fun and interesting experience.