Year 12 Human Biology/Biology program


Searching for Mutations with PCR

Activity duration: 5 hours
Price per student:

    • $50 per student for 20 or more 
    • $60 per student for 16-19 students
    • Less than 15 students: a minimum fee applies. 
Max class size: 32 students

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DISCOVER how to amplify a human gene with PCR, visualise the product with gel electrophoresis and identify the mutation with gene sequencing. 

The students’ day at the Perkins includes engaging sessions hosted by research scientists, using authentic, research-grade equipment and reagents to help them better understand how mutations can be identified by PCR, electrophoresis and sequencing.

Students will engage in a laboratory session that explores how to amplify the potentially mutated BRAF gene of three melanoma patients. The identification of such a mutation can lead to improved treatment options.

The lab offers students the opportunity to set up a PCR reaction to amplify the gene of interest, followed by electrophoresis to visualize the outcome. They will learn first-hand from melanoma patients how advances in research directly affect their lives.

Curriculum Links

Human Biology Year 12 | Unit 4 Human Variation and Evolution

SU statements: Mutations in genes and chromosomes can result from errors in DNA replication, cell division or from damage caused by mutagens.

SHE statements: Developments in biotechnology have increased access to genetic information of species, populations and individuals, existing now or in the past, the interpretation and use of which may be open to ethical considerations.

SIS statements: Conduct investigations, including the use of virtual or real biotechnology techniques of PCR, gel electrophoresis for DNA sequencing.

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