Exceptional Experience For Academy Biology Students
Upper Columbia Academy’s advanced biology students recently had an unusual opportunity to simulate forensic studies with the latest of scientific equipment, thanks to the Howard Hughes Foundation and Washington State University.
“They loaned us all kinds of equipment that we could never afford—free of charge!” reports Gayle Haeger, UCA biology teacher. “Our students were able to work on the cutting edge of science.” They fingerprinted DNA from a simulated crime scene, complete with sample DNA from several “suspects;” they used gel electrophoresis to prepare their own samples and fragmented the DNA to identify the “criminal;” and they developed skills ranging from micro-pipetting (measuring millionths of a liter) to reading the finished gel separation of DNA.
UCA students learned that these processes are useful in finding birth parents, identifying disease organisms, evaluating the effectiveness of bone marrow transplants, testing human remains and much more.