Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

Real-life Research: Which little piggy?

This workshop gives a real insight and practical hands-on experience on what life in the lab is like here at The Roslin Institute.

Learning Level: HNC, HND

Location: Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre, University of Edinburgh Easter Bush Campus, EH25 9RG

Availability: On demand

Minimum attendance: 16 

Maximum attendance: 24

Cost: £8 per pupil 

Duration: 3 - 4 hours

The participants need to be confident with the following terms: alleles, homozygous, heterozygous, mutation, transcription, translation, gel electrophoresis, recessive, dominant.

Students will be introduced to the current, cutting-edge research of Dr Christine Tait-Burkard and her team who have used genome-editing technology to engineer pigs that are genetically resistant to an infectious disease called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).    The workshop will reveal how they use molecular biology techniques to genotype engineered pigs. 

Learning Objectives

  • To understand how scientific research is used to solve global animal health and welfare problems
  • To develop scientific thinking and critical analysis skills
  • To understand how gene editing works and can be used in the lab
  • To understand that we can identify genotypes using DNA profiling
  • To interpret and discuss experimental results
  • To reveal the world of work in scientific research

Techniques Used

  • Micropipetting
  • DNA gel electrophoresis

Workshop outline

  • Introduction to gene editing
  • Introduction to micropipettes
  • Preparation of DNA for fragment analysis
  • DNA electrophoresis using agarose gels
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • Ethical discussion about use of genome edited animals in farming


Downloadable Resources 

Risk Assessment 
Workshop Description 
Read more about the science behind the workshop

Precision engineering for PRRSV resistance in pigs: Macrophages from genome edited pigs lacking CD163 SRCR5 domain are fully resistant to both PRRSV genotypes while maintaining biological function Burkard, C, Lillico, S, Reid, E, Jackson, B, Mileham, AJ, Ait-Ali, T, Whitelaw, C & Archibald, A 2017

Genome Editing for Disease Resistance in Livestock Proudfoot, C & Tait-Burkard, C 2017