South Orangetown Central School District

On March 2, 24 TZHS AP Biology students traveled to the Regeneron DNA Learning Center to learn advanced lab techniques and skills through hands-on participation in a five-hour Human Mitochondrial Sequencing experiment. Students used a Polymerase Chain Reaction machine to amplify DNA and performed a gel electrophoresis to help analyze mitochondrial DNA to determine evolutionary relationships between samples. This week, they are performing bioinformatic analysis of their DNA sequences in the classroom using an online bioserver to gain a deeper understanding of how the fields of genetics and evolution are intertwined.

“It was fun and fulfilling to see our students so engaged in learning procedures involved in DNA technology,” noted AP Biology teacher Nicole Farish. “Last year, we performed this lab virtually with kits sent from Regeneron, but being able to return to this in-person experience has been critical for bolstering skills.”

This annual field trip to the DNA Learning Center, which is affiliated with Cold Spring Laboratories, aligns with the New York State Science Learning Standards, specifically regarding analyzing and interpreting data, planning and conducting investigations and examining the structure and function relationship.

AP Biology is one of five Advanced Placement science courses offered at TZHS. Learn more about all of the high school’s science offerings here.

Students conducting Human Mitochondrial DNA experiment