Friday, 7 March 2014

You've got to admit, we're getting better....

Those of you who have to suffer the annoying comments from your granddad, or your mum about how pop music isn't what it used to be since the Beatles split up, might recognise the title of my Blog today (nearly, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). What's my point? The Y10 class carried out the second day of their lambda genome mapping project last Tuesday. On the first day, I inserted a skills test to assess each student's ability to set up and analyse a restriction enzyme digestion of lambda DNA. The results are compared below. This strategy has been introduced into the projects to measure the development of your skills. The ability to deliver micro-litre volumes of nucleic acids and restriction enzymes, followed by loading onto agarose gels, might be something professional laboratory scientists do every day, but isn't common among 14 year olds!

Week 1 (left)
Week 2 (right)

So how did yo do? Above, on the left is an example of a gel in which you digested lambda DNA using the enzyme EcoRI (in week 1): on the right is the gel analysis of the same experiment carried out a week later. I don't think I need to say anything more about the level of improvement! Congratulations to all students in the class, this is an example of how data of a "publishable" standard can be achieved in the Liverpool Life Science UTC labs with dedicated students honing their skills through our Innovation programme: at the age of 14!

The images on the right are taken from open access publications and show the quality of the class data above (week 2) compare favourably with professional science labs. The first (left) is from a well respected journal in the Tropical disease field and the second (right) is from a University undergraduate team entering an international molecular biology competition. I think you will agree, we are on our way!

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