Category: High School Field Trips

Using DNA to Diagnose & Understand Disease

Students will be introduced to a family interested in finding out whether their child has the disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Students will use gel electrophoresis to detect a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and determine if the individuals do or do not have the disease or if they are a carrier for CF. Following the diagnosis, students will learn about the Central Dogma of biology and its role in individuals who have Cystic Fibrosis. Through a hands-on activity, students will transcribe, translate, and synthesize the CFTR protein – a critical chloride protein channel. They will then use the 3D protein models to discuss how a mutation in the CFTR gene can result in improper protein function, which results in the key symptoms seen in those with CF.

*Full experience is 90 minutes but can be split into two 45-minute sessions across two days for those on 50-minute period schedules.

Disease Diagnostics: Using PCR to Diagnose Cystic Fibrosis

Students will be introduced to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and how it can be used to diagnose disease. Students will participate in a hands-on activity to model the steps of PCR and how it can be used to detect and amplify specific genetic sequences, including genetic mutations. Students will be given ready-to-load DNA samples from patients interested in finding out their disease status for Cystic Fibrosis. After analyzing the gel, students will be tasked with building a family pedigree to illustrate their findings and to also predict the disease state of other family members.

*Full experience is 90 minutes.