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“A Question of Taste”

This term a group of 20 Biology students were able to take part in a fantastic session at UCLan called “A Question of Taste”. The students, who are all in their first year of study at Cardinal Newman, were able to take part in the workshop, which focussed on genetics.

Each student was able to extract and test their own DNA, using modern molecular biological techniques, to compare their phenotype with their genotype. The workshop demonstrated evolution and genetic diversity by analysing the students’ ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a chemical found in vegetables such as sprouts and broccoli. The students carried our a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests and gel electrophoresis in the analysis of their DNA.

The session was hugely beneficial to the group as they cover theory on genetic diversity and evolution as part of their first year A-Level Biology studies and then genetic crosses and gene technology in their second year. They were also able to enhance their practical skills through the use of the types of equipment that they may use if they go on to study Biology related degrees after College.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience which the students and staff enjoyed thoroughly. Thanks to all at UCLan for making it possible.


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Cardinal Newman College,
Lark Hill Road, Preston, Lancashire. PR1 4HD