December 17, 2012

Bio students participate in lab

ADAMS TWP — Several Advanced Placement biology students at Mars High School will learn about DNA fingerprinting as part on a molecular biology workshop at the University of Pittsburgh's Langley Hall on Tuesday.

The workshop, which will be conducted by a university professor and a graduate assistant, will offer hands-on experience in real crime investigation techniques. The same activity is offered for biology majors in their junior year at the college.

Through the activity, the students will isolate DNA from their own cheek cells and will amplify the DNA through PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). The students also will use gel electrophoresis to analyze and compare their DNA fingerprints

In class at Mars High School, AP biology students are learning about basic DNA structure and function as well as how DNA techniques can improve daily life, says Bill Wesley, biology teacher. Topics of study include PCR; DNA fingerprinting for CSI applications and identifying genetic diseases; and bacterial and cellular transformations such as manipulating bacterial DNA to create insulin for diabetics and develop pest-resistant plants or changing cellular DNA for cancer studies, treatments and cures.

The workshop is a unique opportunity for the students to study their own DNA in a real college laboratory, under the guidance of an experienced college professor.

For more information, contact Wesley at 724-625-1581.

Elementary schools to hold parties

ADAMS TWP — Mars elementary schools will hold various holiday parties on Thursday:

• Mars Elementary School — 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. 724-625-3161

• Mars Primary Center — Morning kindergarten, 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.; afternoon kindergarten and first grade, 2 to 3 p.m. 724-625-1588

• Mars Centennial School — Fifth grade, 1 to 2 p.m.; sixth grade, 2 to 3 p.m. 724-625-2601

For more information, contact the individual school building.

Student council wraps up food drive

ADAMS TWP — Mars High School Student Council will hold a food drive through Tuesday to benefit The Lighthouse Foundation food bank.

The school is accepting donations of canned goods and other nonperishable items. A collection box is in the front lobby of the high school.