How did you spend your easter holiday? Our team had spent a wonderful weekend with 11 kids in our community biolab, learning DNA barcoding, its applications and some basic molecular biology skills. This was our very first workshop of our Hong Kong DNA Barcoding project. It was held on 15-16 April at our community biolab at MakerBay. There was totally 11 kids, from 8 to 15 years old joining and some parents also participate in the process.
We kickstart our day with a brief introduction of DNA Barcoding and why we do barcoding, then we went out to Lei Yue Mun to collect plants samples and document the collected samples on iNaturalist app. The kids made several new discoveries. One of the 8 year old boy, Joe told us “I didn’t think of plants also have DNA! I thought only human have DNA.” Another girl, Amber, also found that some plants look very similar but when she touched the leaves, she discovered that one plant species actually has hair on the leaf surface while another doesn’t.
We then returned to the lab with the specimen and isolate the DNA from the plant samples. The kids have great interested on using micropipette and centrifuge. Joe was so excited that he even drew out the the lab and the equipments and gave us as a gift.
In day 2, the kids learnt about how PCR works and prepared PCR reaction mix for their own samples. After 2 hours, they took out their PCR products, learn casting agarose gels and analyze the amplified DNA by gel electrophoresis. Below shows the gel photograph:
Though some samples shows no band, we still got 60% successful rate. Yet this was a good learning experience for both us and the kids!
More detailed lab log can be found on our wiki: https://sites.google.com/site/diybiohongkong/hong-kong-barcode/15-16-april-2017-workshop