This week was the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) lab! I got to work with a couple of new people to delve into my DNA and discover the existence of a possible Alu insertion in my genes (Domain 4.1). After looking at the class’s data and comparing it to other data collected from around the world, I predicted that race is a big factor in having the Alu insertion. Many people of European descent do not even have one chromosome with the insertion, but many of Asian or African descent are positive on at least one of the chromosomes for the insertion.
During the lab, there may have been a small mix up in the beginning of the lab by using the wrong test tube, as I did not experience any results on the final round of looking at the gel. This would have eliminated the nucleotides from being present during PCR, which would not have allowed the primers to replicate the DNA. I could have also punctured the gel while I was adding it to the well with a micropipet. If I were to get more practice with this, I would be able to get the hang of it.
For homework this week, I completed a Vodcast on viruses (Domain 4.3). It was very interesting to learn how scientists and geneticists can use phage therapy to treat bacterial diseases. This could even be the answer for antibiotic resistance! It connected to our previous Vodcast on genetic engineering and the different biotechnical techniques and tools used by scientists to look at and change DNA and RNA. This will lead up to our next section of the unit, most likely on mitosis and meiosis. I feel like it has given me a solid foundation, and will allow me to focus on the next section, which I had difficulty with during my freshman year of biology.