The term genome was coined in 1920 by the German botanist Hans Winkler. A combination of the words gene and chromosome, a genome is the set of genes located on one or more chromosomes that defines a living organism. The concept of a genome has been expanded to mean the entire sequence of DNA nucleotides or "letters" (ATGC) that compose the genetic information within an organism's set of chromosomes, or all of it's genes. Complete genome sequences are now available for humans and many plants and animals. With this information in hand, the next step is for scientists to understand the physiological functions of the thousands of genes for which little is known beyond their sequences.
In this camp, participants will use Nobel Prize-winning technologies to analyze the genetic complement of several organisms. Lab work will include:
- using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and DNA sequencing to explore variations in the human genome – and then bioinformatics to explore human origins and migrations with the data;
- using PCR to explore the relationship between genotype and phenotype for a taste receptor that affects the ability to taste the bitter chemical phenylthiocarbamide (PTC);
- using PCR to identify genetically modified plants and food products;
- using methylation-sensitive enzymes to explore epigenetics – heritable changes in gene expression – that affect flowering in Arabidopsis; and
- using online bioinformatic tools for genomic analysis and gene mapping.
Genome Science is strictly limited to students who are entering 11th grade or higher, and have taken DNA Science or have a high level of training in the sciences (documentation required).
Tuition is $575 and includes all materials. The workshop runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday.