Local students learning about cloning, genes at med school

Local students learning about cloning, genes at med school Students and teachers are learning about science during a three-week workshop in The University of South Dakota School of Medicine.

The teachers and students are at USD as part of the Gene Explorers program, a three-week workshop of hands-on learning. The Gene Explorers program will include participation by high school students (week one), secondary teachers (weektwo) and middle school students (week three).

Vermillion High School students Tim Goodman, Mark Vickrey and Ani Seferi, and Vermillion Middle School student Ben Schimelfening are among the participants.

They are participating in scientific labs they might not see in their school settings and learning about such things as DNA isolation, cloning e. coli bacteria, and DNA fingerprinting, according to USD Basic Biomedical Sciences Professor Bob Noivia. Each student will conduct a major project on cloning a gene that allows jellyfish to glow in the dark. The cloned gene will be put into a bacterium to create glow-in-the-dark bacteria.

"These are the same skills that scientists use to clone new genes such as cloning herbicide resistance genes into new corn hybrids," Noiva said.

According to Noiva, the program is designed to help identify students who might desire a career in the biomedical sciences and familiarize them with the fundamentals of molecular biology. Established at USD three years ago, the program received funding this year from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Bethesda, MD.

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