Polk County High science teacher Jennifer Allsbrook recently joined Shannon Haynes’ Honors Biology class for an investigation of biotechnology.

Allsbrook has been running a successful biotechnology class for several years that teaches students valuable laboratory skills for a variety of careers in addition to studying local flora and fauna. Under her guidance, students practiced skills needed to run gel electrophoresis on DNA samples of local plants.

Using equipment on loan from a company called MiniPCR, Allsbrook showed freshmen biology students how to study DNA samples of local plants collected by her own class. The goal was to show that viable DNA existed in each sample, with the gel providing the proof.

The samples will be sent to Genewiz for DNA bar-coding so they can be cataloged and studied more extensively.

Students also learned the premise behind DNA fingerprinting along with valuable knowledge of laboratory procedures and future career options.

Plant samples used by the Honors Biology class