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WINTER BREAK IN PERSON February Winter Break Fun

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  • Feb. 16, 2021 through Feb. 19, 2021, 9:30am, grades 5-8; 2:30pm, grades 9-12
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | DNA Learning Center
  • 334 Main Street (25A) , Cold Spring Harbor
  • Tween, Teen
  • $25 per session

The DNA Learning Center is excited to welcome students for these in-person programs! Seats for each session are limited to 8 students and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Advanced registration required. Grades 5-12.


9:30am: DNA 101- DNA is a molecule inside the cells of all living things, including in things we eat! Join us for an introduction to the DNA building blocks called nucleotides—composed of nitrogenous base, phosphate group and deoxyribose sugar—and build a 3-D model that shows DNA’s double helix structure. Follow up by using a simple procedure to extract a visible DNA sample from wheat germ that can be collected and preserved!

2:30pm: Bacterial Transformation- Bacterial transformation illustrates the direct link between an organism's genetic complement (genotype) and its observable characteristics (phenotype). In this genetic engineering experiment you will introduce two genes, for antibiotic resistance and luminescence, into the bacterium E. coli. Practicing the scientific method, transformed bacteria are compared to non-transformed bacteria for their ability to grow in the presence of ampicillin and glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.



9:30am: Got Lactase?- Over 60% of humans worldwide are lactose intolerant. This intolerance is considered an ancestral trait because early humans were all intolerant. Like other mammals, lactose intolerant humans stop producing the digestive enzyme lactase after weaning. Why, then, are some humans now able to continue drinking milk after infancy? Join us to better understand the very interesting story of how a combination of genetics and culture has affected our evolution and perform lab investigations that explore enzyme function and demonstrate how enzymes such as lactase are used in the food industry.

2:30pm: Forensics: Trace Evidence- Crime scene investigation relies on the quality of the evidence collected. In this session you will explore and analyze certain types of trace evidence through microscopy, observation, and comparison. Trace evidence is evidence “left behind,” such as fingerprints, footprints, or hair and fibers. You will use microscopes to observe your own hair structure and analyze hair and fiber “evidence” to see if you can find matches.



9:30am: DNA Fingerprinting- Human DNA is more alike than different, so how do we find the differences? Restriction enzymes are proteins that recognize specific DNA sequences and can be used to determine whether a particular DNA sequence is present. In this lab, DNA from “evidence” and “suspects” will be compared using restriction enzyme digest and agarose gel electrophoresis. DNA analysis will then be combined with crime scene data to draw conclusions about each suspect.

2:30pm: Detecting Genetically Modified Foods- Genes that encode herbicide resistance, insect resistance, drought tolerance, frost tolerance, and other traits have been added to many commercial plants—including most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States. In this lab, you will isolate DNA from common foods and use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify the presence or absence of transgenes. Results for this lab will be posted to the DNALC Field Lab website after class for analysis at home.



9:30am:  Gene Therapy-  E. coli bacteria can usually digest the dairy sugar lactose, but we have mutant bacteria that are lactose intolerant! In this experiment you will genetically engineer the bacteria with a gene to produce the lactase enzyme they are missing, and they will become lactose "tolerant"! This is similar to an experimental method of replacing or supplementing genes to cure genetic disease, called gene therapy. By giving the bacteria new genes, you will be "curing" their genetic disorder.

2:30pm: Restriction Analysis- The DNA restriction analysis experiment demonstrates that DNA can be precisely manipulated and that it behaves as predicted by the Watson-Crick structure. In this lab, restriction enzymes—the scissors of molecular biology—are used to digest DNA from the bacteriophage lambda. Agarose gel electrophoresis will allow for visualization of the results.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | DNA Learning Center

334 Main Street (25A)

Cold Spring Harbor, NY