Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Thursday
Today was an exciting day for the students! They were able to see how environment did influence gene expression in identical E. coli plated on different types of media. Some of the E. coli expressed the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) while others did not. Students also created experiments to test effects of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) on the flies. Tomorrow the students will be discussing and presenting what they have been researching throughout the week!
Ask your student: What is the difference between genotype and phenotype? (Genotype is based on the DNA sequence for a trait, phenotype is the expression or appearance of the trait)
Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Wednesday
Today students began the process to transform ‘normal’ E. coli bacteria (that do not produce green fluorescent protein (GFP)) into bacteria that do produce GFP. The students constructed plasmids and created plates with different E. Coli strains, and on Thursday will identify on which trains transformation was successful.
Ask your student: What is transformation? (A lab technique is used to introduce foreign/new genetic material into an organism)
Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Tuesday
Students began their days by learning how to handle and anesthetize fruit flies, then identified characteristics on those flies – eye color, wing shape, etc. After comparing their data with the class, the students generated different fly behaviors to test. The students looked at the genetics and behavioral phenotype concept with gene-environment effects to discuss outcomes of these possible interactions in preparation for experiments later in the week!
Ask your student: What are some ways the environment can affect behavior? (Altering gene expression and therefore behavior, cause learning and thus alter gene expression, have no effect purely genetically based behavior)
This Monday in… Genetics: Nature or Nurture?
Today in Genetics: Nature or Nurture, the students extracted their own DNA with the goal of identifying whether or not their DNA contained the PTC gene. The gene reveals whether or not the campers can taste bitter (PTC) or not! Once the campers had their DNA, they prepared it for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) experiment to then amplify the gene and eventually reveal whether or not the gene was present.
Ask your student: What are polytene chromosomes? (The ‘giant’ chromosomes found in the salivary glands of drosophila larva that are result from several rounds of DNA replication without cell division)