On Thursday, May 19th, the AP Biology class visited the Michael Smith Laboratories in UBC for a fascinating, hands-on look at genetics and ecology. The presenter, David Ng, informed us of the history and significance of the PCR process (used to amplify or copy DNA) through interesting, engaging games and quizzes, and then had us perform a PCR experiment with our own DNA.
Working with our hands to collect and prepare DNA samples was a great way to familiarize ourselves with each separate step of the PCR process and testing our replicated DNA for the presence of certain junk alleles allowed us to witness the effectiveness of PCR in action. David Ng also supplied facts and encouraged discussion on a broad range of topics from environmental issues to the importance of scientific literacy and education.
We were especially impressed when David Ng showed us the ‘Phylo’ trading card project he is currently working on, which aims to encourage interest in biodiversity. The colourful, informative trading cards of ‘Phylo’ feature many different species from all over the world and can be collected and used for games in the same way as Pokémon cards. Click the link for more information: http://phylogame.org.
Submitted by Rachael, Gr. 12, on behalf of the AP Bio Class.