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Senior School Advanced Biology Students Conduct DNA Gene Mutations

Senior School students in Mr. Greg Weiss' Advanced Biology class have been working in the lab to mutate a gene in yeast and analyze effects of the mutation. To do this, they needed to make a synthetic DNA construct that possesses specific sequences to target and mutate their chosen yeast genes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats). CRISPR is a relatively recently discovered mechanism for the efficient and accurate targeting of gene mutations. Students used software to analyze the DNA sequence, then performed gel electrophoresis, set up polymerase chain reactions (PCR), ran restriction digests and purified DNA from cells. Students were tasked with generating their own procedures and protocols to analyze and engineer their DNA constructs. The lab work was conducted using some of the new equipment in the McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation, which opened in 2018.

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