On Friday 23rd March students travelled to TECHNIQUEST in Cardiff for the day. Genetic Engineering techniques are part of the Upper Sixth Biology course and the Techniquest workshop offers our students the opportunity for ‘hands-on’ laboratory experience, using the techniques that they have learned about in the classroom.
The workshop began by testing students’ ability to taste phenylthiourea (PTU). This is a very bitter tasting chemical and the ability to taste it is genetically controlled. It was easy to spot those who could taste it as their faces changed when it was put on their tongue!
The task was then to extract the form of the gene for PTU tasting that each student had from the DNA in their cheek cells.The DNA samples were collected and amplified using the polymerase chain reaction, then sections of the DNA were separated by gel electrophoresis. The DNA sections were visualised using UV light which is why we’re all wearing protective orange glasses! A fascinating and absorbing experience for all those who attended.