Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Visits Accompsett Middle to Teach DNA Lesson

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory frequently hosts students from throughout the tristate area, and even from China, at its science labs and museum at its DNA Learning Center. There, the students perform hands-on experiments.

On Thursday, Megan Capobianco from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory visited Smithtown to allow Accompsett Middle School eighth graders to perform a similar experiment in their own science classrooms.

Students performed genetic engineering, taking DNA from a glowing jellyfish and transplanting it into a bacteria cell. Then, the students placed the altered bacteria in a petri dish using an eyedropper. As the bacteria reproduces in coming days, it will take on the jellyfish’s green glowing trait when placed under ultraviolet light.

The students learned that humans similarly could be genetically engineered with that green glowing trait if a comparable procedure were performed when they were only a few cells in size. But that would never be done because it is against bioethics.

A practical application, Capobianco explained, is injecting the glowing trait into a cancer cell in a lab and then researching how it reproduces in order to ultimately find ways to defeat it.

The students came away understanding the value of DNA research performed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Genetic disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be researched through the study of DNA.

Date Added: 3/10/2022