Genetically Modified: What exactly are we talking about?
This unit introduces students to the process of genetic engineering, detection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, and the ethics surrounding the ongoing debate of the use of this technology. This unit also serves to reinforce lab techniques such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis and staining. Students isolate DNA from food samples or fresh plant tissue. Using PCR, they amplify Actin, an internal control for successful DNA isolation, and either the Bt gene or the 35S promoter element. The Bt gene and 35S promoter elements are very common in many of the genetically engineered plants grown today. Students determine the presence or absence of the GMOs in their food samples and compare their results to the list of previously tested products. While this lab can be used as a first PCR lab for high school students, it is recommended that it follow the introductory modules.
GMO PCR Student Laboratory Guide
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