Fun with DNA: An Introduction to Genetics and Biotechnology

Girl looking into microscope
Session II - July 14 - 27, 2024
Cost: $4,300

Age: Rising 7th and 8th graders

In the Fun with DNA program students will be introduced to the tools and techniques of molecular biology, and their applications in research and industry. Week one will include investigations on the structure and function of cells and DNA, deciphering the genetic code, cellular protein production, genetic mutation, evolution, and heredity. Students will explore protein function with a focus on enzymes that perform specialized chemical reactions in cells, and how those enzymes are used in food production, medicine, and biotechnology. Introductory labs will include practice with DNA isolation, agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA restriction digest, bacterial transformation, and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). In week two, students will implement techniques learned in week one to clone a jellyfish gene, use the gene to manufacture Green Fluorescent Protein in bacteria, then isolate and purify the protein. This multi-step procedure will simulate the biomanufacturing process used by pharmaceutical companies to produce important human proteins such as insulin. The program finishes with a showcase, where students will present course labs.