PCR to Detect Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) utilizes the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify genetically modified corn from a variety of food products including corn chips and cornmeal. Using a magnetic purification system, students isolate DNA samples from food products. Samples are amplified using PCR, and DNA products are analyzed using agarose gel electrophoresis.

Key Topics:

  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Their Benefits and Risks
  • PCR Reaction Components and Their Functions
  • Gel Electrophoresis and DNA Fragment Size Determination
  • DNA Isolation from Food

This field trip is categorized as an Advanced field trip, and is geared toward students that are advanced high school level or above. This Field Trip utilizes a more sophisticated set of molecular concepts and asks students to relate those concepts to the world around them. In order to guarantee that your students benefit from these experiences, prior experience with PCR, DNA electrophoresis, and the use of micropipettes is highly recommended.

Length of Field Trip: 5 hours, including a 30 minute lunch break

Cost of Field Trip: $240 for up to 16 students; $15 for every additional student

Background information