GMO PCR: Has the DNA in my food been modified?
“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 isolate DNA from a corn-based food project of their choice and use PCR to detect a gene ubiquitous to all plants and a promoter region used in many GM crops. At the end of the lab, students draw a scientific model that explains how and why a particular GM crop was made.
In our online version of the lesson, students analyze gel electrophoresis data from from a selection of corn-based foods. They also engage with a POV video of a student performing the steps of the lab and labeled pictures of all the lab equipment involved.”
- Perform DNA Extraction, PCR, and Gel Electrophoresis to detect the presence of GM crops in a food product
- Define GMO and describe different examples of GM crops
- Construct a scientific model that explains how and why a particular GM crop was made
- Structure and function of DNA
- Relationship between genes and the proteins they code for (DNA → mRNA → protein)
- Experience with DNA extraction, micropipetting and gel electrophoresis.
Disciplinary Core Ideas:
LS1-A Structure and Function
“…genes are regions in the DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins…”
LS3-A Inheritance of Traits
“…genes (expressed) by the cell may be regulated in different ways…”
Science and Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Students make a graphic model to explain how a genetic modification in a plant that is used to make a food product leads to a new trait.
Systems and System Models
Cause and Effect
Students explore the relationship between genes, proteins, and traits by exploring genetic modification in crops.