For over 20 years, the Life Sciences department at Canterbury Christ Church University has been loaning Dane Court Biology department the necessary hardware to enable the students to be able to carry out gene technology practicals in school science labs, which otherwise would be completely unaffordable.
This year, 80 year 12 students, working in five classes, over a period of five 50-minute lessons, were able to participate in ‘Genetic Fingerprinting’, essentially a forensic science activity where, using techniques such as restriction digestion and gel electrophoresis, the DNA at a crime scene is matched up with the DNA of one of five suspects.
In the same week the students also managed to genetically modify E. coli bacteria with a gene from a deep sea jellyfish which causes the bacteria to glow bright green under UV light.
Both of these practicals require complex manipulative skills, and both also beautifully reinforce the work on Gene Technology taught in classes to the students. Without the help of Christ Church, this aspect of the course would be delivered via textbook, YouTube, and ‘theory teaching’. How much better it is to give the students ‘hands-on’ experience of the techniques and methods involved. The photos clearly show the motivation and enjoyment experienced by the students, and the Biology Department at Dane Court hopes that the collaboration between Dane Court and Christ Church will continue to motivate our young scientists well into the foreseeable future.
"...really enjoyable, ...and I now feel like I understand the topic a lot better"