AP Biology Students Partake in DNA Lab


Elwood-John H. Glenn High School students from both sections of AP Biology in Dr. Kamhi's and Ms. Regan's classes, recently visited the DNA Learning center for the second time this year. Another final trip is planned for March.

During their visit, students participated in a lab where they had to isolate a specific gene called "The Jumping Gene," better known as the Alu. The Alu elements are found only in primates of the evolutionary tree, which includes humans. All of the hundreds of thousands of Alu copies have accumulated in primates since their separation from other vertebrate groups about 65 million years ago. Alu elements can be sorted into distinct lineages, or families, according to inherited patterns. These studies suggest that the rate of Alu transposition has changed over time – from about one new jump in every live birth, early in primate evolution, to about one in every 200 newborns today.

The students, with parental consent, tested their own DNA for the Alu element and performed multiple steps in isolating the gene and testing their own DNA for it. They used PCR technology, Gel-electrophoresis and Micro-Chip Array analysis. The skills that they learned are great for understanding science inquiry and its importance in the future.

In addition, there was a group of students at the DNA Learning Center from Beijing and during lunch the students were able to learn about the different cultures and how social media works in China. It was a great day for all!