Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One Book DNA Activity

Last Thursday the PVCC Jessup Library hosted the One Book “Extract Your Own DNA Activity.” For one afternoon, the Library Teaching Room was transformed into the “Library Laboratory” where 13 students decked out in rubber gloves and safety goggles carefully followed instructions to isolate strands of DNA from their own cheek cells.

The participants of the One Book DNA Activity represented by their DNA samples!

The activity was well-attended and much-enjoyed, and by its end nearly all of the participants had been able to successfully extract a small sample of their own DNA. Students came face-to-face with a piece of their personal genetic blueprint, and each was able to take home the results of his or her DNA extraction. Participants also received a free One Book tote bag. The simple experiment utilized common supplies and ingredients, such as table salt, food coloring, and rubbing alcohol. If you would like to try the experiment yourself, you can find directions and a how-to video on the PBS: NOVA Web site.

The DNA Activity was sponsored by the PVCC One Book Program, which is currently featuring the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Upcoming One Book events and activities include an essay contest, film screening of a documentary on Henrietta and HeLa cells, and a presentation by guest speaker Dr. Lundy Pentz on “Cells, Tissues, and Money." Learn more on the One Book Program Web site, and look out for an article on the DNA Activity in an upcoming edition of The Forum.