21st April 2016
During lessons, students were able to learn about the principles behind restriction enzymes and how they are used to cut DNA, as well as the techniques of genetic engineering and DNA fingerprinting. Students carried out practical experiments where they were given a crime scenario and six samples of DNA, including DNA from the scene of the crime, the victim and the suspects. They carried out a restriction digest, where the DNA was incubated with a restriction enzyme to cut the DNA into smaller fragments.
The next day, these fragments were loaded into a gel electrophoresis tank, alongside a marker and electricity was used to separate the individual fragments of DNA and create a DNA fingerprint. Students could then compare the DNA fingerprints to try and draw conclusions as to who committed the crime. Not only did they learn about the practical side of this process, but also the real-life implications of such technology and all students enjoyed the opportunity to carry out some cutting edge Biotechnology practical work.
The Science department were able to offer this as a result of an ongoing partnership we have between our Sixth Form and Amgen (through the Teacher Scientist Network) who loaned us the equipment for use in the Sixth Form. This is the first time we have been able to offer this opportunity to Year 10 students and it proved very worthwhile for all. These students will be able to benefit further from this in later years, as in both Year 12 and Year 13 Biology at Sheringham Sixth Form they will have the opportunity to extend their practical knowledge and experiences further when we loan this kit out again.
Many thanks to Amgen, the Teacher Scientist Network, Mr Stocker (Science technician) for making the solutions and setting up the equipment and Mrs Philpott (A level Biology Teacher) for putting the together the outline programme for the practical week.