GMO PCR Lab Introduction
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, though largely accepted for production of medicine like recombinant human insulin, remain controversial and often misunderstood for applications such as food production. In this lesson, students learn about how and why GM crops are made and use PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) to detect genetic modification in a food product of their choice. Read More
In the lab portion, students first extract DNA from their food product. Next, they use PCR to amplify a gene ubiquitous to all plants (RuBisCo) but also for the 35S promoter commonly found in GMOs. After visualizing their results using gel electrophoresis, students will determine whether their food product contains GM ingredients.
This lab provides a great opportunity for students to use important molecular biology skills (micropipetting, gel electrophoresis, PCR) and to deepen their understanding of what a GMO really is. This could also lead to a broader classroom discussion about the controversy surrounding the labeling and use of GMOs.
Lesson Resources Student Guide – Download and edit student worksheets to be completed during the GMO PCR Lab. Lesson Slides – Articulates with the student guide above and accompanying lesson plans below. Lesson Plan – Suggested times for pacing, sequence and activities for the lab. Includes vocabulary tool and other lesson resources. Supplemental Resources – Includes background information, outside articles, videos, and more related to the lab