At TSoG we will be utilizing PCR this summer! As part of our SEADD camp with the Girl Scouts we will amplify the 16s rRNA gene of soil bacteria isolated from Camp Whispering Cedars. The 16s rRNA gene is the DNA sequence that encodes part of the small ribosomal subunit in prokaryotes, because it is highly conserved between species of bacteria it is used in phylogenetics to classify microbes. We will also run a special lab activity at the TSoG lab this summer for Mentorship students to analyze their own genomic DNA to determine if they carry variations in a gene that confers the phenotypic ability to taste bitter flavors, like those found in broccoli. Continue reading to learn more about how PCR works and about an exciting contest where you can design a PCR experiment to be carried out in space on the International Space Station!