OUR Year 13 Biology students visited the Biochemistry Department at the University of Cambridge just before Christmas.

Charlotte Ebbens, one of the students who participated in the trip, said: “We were able to try and test some new techniques in the lab, for example swishing saline solution around our mouths, replicating the DNA extracted through PCR and then separated through gel electrophoresis, all with the direction and assistance of Dr Ball.

“Throughout the practical, we shared questions and answers, learning about the side effects of gel electrophoresis and painful effects of Virkon, as well as discussing the environmental impact of lab experiments, as all waste must be incinerated as oppose to being recycled, bringing up the problems associated with single use plastic.

“By around 3.30pm, everyone had correctly extracted, replicated and separated their DNA and we each received a print-out of a copy of our results, which showed whether we had the Alu repeats in our TPA gene. Interestingly, this sequence has no links to any diseases.

“We discovered most of the Year 13 Biologists were homozygous for the absence of the gene, with the exception of a few heterozygous individuals. After saying a big thank you to Dr Ball we made our way back to Ely to head home after a great Biology filled day.”

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