Harlem DNA Lab skyline
A collaboration of the New York City Department of Education and the DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory



Harlem DNA Lab teacher

Professional Development Workshops
in Genetics & Biotechnology

Join us at the Harlem DNA Lab this summer for a professional development program to enable teachers to deliver hands-on, inquiry-based experiments in genetics and biotechnology. The program will train 8th through 12th grade teachers to implement lab activities to complement the NYC Life Science, Living Environment, and AP Biology curricula.

Training will provide in-depth experience with labs that target key topics in genetics and biotechnology, connections to New York-based science research, instruction on lab planning and preparation, and classroom implementation. An online Lab Center accompanies each lab with pre- and post-lab activities, video interviews and animations. Upon completion of each session, participants will be eligible to rent accompanying Footlocker Kits for each lab containing equipment and consumables.

Teachers may register for individual sessions or a series of sessions at www.dnalc.org/harlemdnalab. A certificate of completion will be provided for each session. Suggested lab sequences, which provide differentiated instruction for middle school, high school, and AP biology teachers are:

8th Grade Science/Living Environment
DNA Structure & Isolation
Bacterial Transformation and Protein Isolation
• Restriction Analysis and Gel Electrophoresis
Living Environment/AP Biology
Bacterial Transformation and Protein Isolation
Restriction Analysis and Gel Electrophoresis
Human DNA Fingerprint
• Human Mitochondrial Sequencing

DNA Structure and Isolation
The rich history of solving the structure of DNA is introduced through interviews and animations from DNA Interactive (www.dnai.org), including James Watson, Nobel Laureate and Chancellor Emeritus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The story is complemented with easy-to-build DNA models and a simple procedure to extract DNA from plant cells. Using household materials, DNA is extracted and visualized, producing a tangible DNA sample that can be collected and preserved.

Bacterial Transformation and Protein Isolation
This experiment illustrates the direct link between an organism's genetic complement (genotype) and its observable characteristics (phenotype). In this lab, E.coli cells are genetically engineered to uptake genes for antibiotic resistance and bioluminescence. Following overnight incubation, transformed bacteria are compared to unexposed bacteria for their ability to grow in the presence of ampicillin and fluoresce. Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) is then isolated and purified from transformed cells, illustrating how many biotech products such as insulin are produced.

DNA Restriction Analysis and Gel Electrophoresis
DNA restriction analysis is at the heart of recombinant-DNA technology.  The ability to cut DNA predictably and precisely enables scientists to manipulate and recombine DNA molecules at will. This laboratory introduces the genotypic analysis of DNA using restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis. In this experiment, samples of DNA from bacteriophage Lambda are cut with two different restriction enzymes, EcoRI and HindIII. The DNA is electrophoresed to produce a “fingerprint” of the restriction digest, which is then used to identify a third “mystery” enzyme.

Human DNA Fingerprint: Genotyping a "Jumping Gene"
This experiment examines an ancient DNA polymorphism called a transposon, or “jumping gene,” on chromosome 16. Mimicking forensic DNA fingerprinting and genetic diagnosis, participants prepare a sample of their own DNA from cells obtained by saline mouthwash, and PCR is used to amplify polymorphic DNA fragments. After gel electrophoresis, molecular genotypes are scored, and class data is used to explore population genetics, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and theories of human evolution.

Human Mitochondrial Sequencing
This experiment examines Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human mitochondrial genome. Students amplify a small region of their own mitochondrial DNA and use the product as a template for DNA cycle sequencing. The participants obtain their "finished" sequence and perform computer analysis of the data using the DNALC's online bioinformatics tools Sequence Server and DNA Subway. Bioinformatic analysis of mitochondrial sequences is used to explore human evolution and migration, and to produce phylogenetic trees using both ancient and modern human mitochondrial DNA sequences.

Supported by:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dana Foundation, Jerome L. Greene Foundation,
Goldman Sachs Foundation, William Townsend Porter Foundation, and Lounsbury Foundation