DNA & Genetics: fruit flies, frogs, and . . . a cadaver?

The DNA and Genetics class wrapped up an eventful week last week and heads into the final few days of VAMPY with more fun in store.


Students started last week looking at a synthetic cadaver and studying mutations in different fruit flies under the microscope. On Tuesday, we had a lesson and tour of the electron microscope, where Dr. John Andersland also presented liquid nitrogen and dinoflagellates to students! We were able to look at a frog’s taste bud under the microscope as well as use technology to determine which elements were present in the sample. That afternoon, we cut up pieces of liver to study catalase, an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide produced in our bodies. We subject the catalase enzyme to different conditions to see what factors can affect enzyme activity and proteins in general. 


Wednesday was the day that the students were able to study the plants they planted last week and look at the different phenotypes to determine how trait variations in the seedlings reveal inheritance patterns. That afternoon, we began the study of blood typing (not using real blood, thank goodness!), and during study hall Wednesday night students were able to build microscopes that fit onto their phone camera lens. We saw a lot of fascinating images! 


Thursday, students did a taste lab and studied Mendelian genetics of corn. And to finish off the week, we studied the pedigrees of queens, blue people, and . . . dragons? Stay tuned as we continue delving into the best of DNA and Genetics!

— Sarah Angelle, teaching assistant