Biology students test snack foods for GMOs

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Photo credit: Lizzy Partsch

Biology students extract DNA from snack foods.

Lizzy Partsch, Staff Writer

Recently, students in Mrs. Eisel’s, Mrs. Oglivie’s, Mrs. Gregorio’s, and Mrs. Jeffers’ biology classes have been extracting portions of food snacks in order to observe and discover if they have been genetically modified.

Dr. David Boone and Dr. John Skoko from the University of Pittsburgh came to visit students of Mrs. Eisel’s biology class on February 26th to assist in teaching and analyzing lab work, which they collected from students to examine in their own lab.

First, students mashed up their food snacks and added clear liquid, which helped bring out the foods’ DNA, and then mixed it up until it looked more like an oatmeal mixture. After, they extracted it into a screw cap tube and boiled it for five minutes. They then proceeded to put the tubes in an incubator for fairly short time and afterwards the fridge overnight.

Day 2 consisted of coloring the two tested foods green, which contained primers for plants to display the non-GMO trait, and others colored red, containing primers for GMOs.

The final days of the lab, the students proceeded to insert their food substances  into a 1% thick gel, which scientists Dr. Boone and Dr. Skoko then took to their lab that night. The next day, students observed their gel, distinguishing between the genetically modified food vs organic.

Overall, the lab was a pure success and allowed students to see the world of science from a different point of view.

Sophomore Abby Kauric said, “I learned a lot about what researchers do in real life and it opened a variety of different options for my future.”

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