Genetics has become a cutting-edge science, not only in the field of biology, but also because of the enormous social and medical reach of its discoveries. This week, students will be exploring the environment’s role in gene expression. Are traits controlled by inherited genes or by a combination of genes and the environment? Students are running experiments with Drosophila (fruit flies) a widely used model organism in real-world genetics investigations and are also practicing doing or modeling genetic techniques such as DNA isolation, gene-editing, PCR, etc. In addition students are using statistical analyses to quantify their research outcomes.
To start them off today, during Dr. Moskalik’s class students got acclimated to using stereoscopes to examine wild type (normal) Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) and practiced identifying whether the flies were male or female. In Mrs. White’s class students learned how to use pipettes to draw up different amounts of liquid (in microliters) and practiced using them while making a rainbow!! They also started their DNA extraction from their cheek cells for conducting PCR (which they will examine the results for, tomorrow).