Author: Monique Waso

On Friday (20 March 2015), Brandon Reyneke and Monique Waso (current MSc students in the Department of Microbiology) had the privilege of teaching the Grade 12 class of Bloemhof Girls High about DNA extractions and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This was a special practical demonstration to explain the application of all the theory the students discussed in class.

The practical revolved around rainwater and how this is a valuable source of fresh water, especially in times of water scarcity and in regions where access to fresh water may be limited. The quality of rainwater however, is compromised and therefore specific techniques for the analysis of the water is important and is used every day. The basics of DNA extraction from rainwater was explained and how the DNA may be used for further analysis by PCR was discussed. This lead to the first part of the practical where students were given the opportunity to set up PCR’s and to see how a PCR machine works. This was followed by a discussion on the analysis of PCR products by gel electrophoresis and the students were provided with a gel to load. This was well received and the students thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.

It was a very exciting day for the students and hopefully some of them will go on to pursue science as field of study next year!

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