Easter Bush Science Outreach Centre

PCR Masterclass: A Question of Taste

A full day, hands-on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) masterclass for Higher Biology and Higher Human Biology pupils.

Learning Level: Higher, HNC, HND

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

Availability: Late-January | March | June

Minimum attendance: 16  

Maximum attendance: 24

Timings: 10am - 3pm

Cost: £8 per pupil

 

Workshop Description

A full day, hands-on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) masterclass for Higher Biology and Higher Human Biology pupils.  Using their own DNA, pupils will discover and compare their version of a bitter taste receptor gene (their genotype) to their ability to taste the bitter compound (their phenotype). They will use cutting-edge equipment to carry out the modern laboratory techniques of DNA extraction, PCR, restriction enzyme digestion and DNA gel electrophoresis.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand DNA structure and function
  • Understand that we can identify genotypes using molecular biology techniques
  • Understand how restriction enzymes cut DNA
  • Use of restriction enzymes and electrophoresis to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in their own DNA
  • Interpretation of experimental results
  • To reveal the world of work in scientific research

Techniques used

  • DNA extraction
  • Centrifugation
  • Micropipetting
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

  • Restriction digest
  • DNA gel electrophoresis

Workshop timeline

  • DNA extraction of pupil's own cheek cells using centrifugation to pellet their cells
  • Introduction to PCR and using micropipetting to set up PCR
  • Restriction digest to determine genotype
  • Electrophoresis on agarose gels
  • Analysis and interpretation of results
  • Discussion with scientists from The Roslin Institute 

 

Risk Assessment