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Learning about DNA

The students in an AP biology class at Dickinson High School, taught by Greg Jung, just finished a genetics lab, using equipment funded by the Dickinson Public Schools Foundation.The grant was written by Dena Venneman.

The students have been doing DNA fingerprinting using simulated DNA to take a deeper look into inheritance patterns. It can also be used in a scenario that mimics the real world of paternity testing or  crime scenes. The students practiced pipetting microliters of DNA.

A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine uses extreme temperatures to cut the DNA where it is told -- for example to isolate the eye color gene. Thousands of copies of the DNA are then run through an electrophoresis machine.

It’s being used by the 11thand 12th grade students.

“It’s expensive and really, really cool equipment,” Venneman said.