Sunday, March 5, 2017

An Alu-minating Week: Weekly Reflection for the Week of February 27th to March 3rd

Weekly Standards: 4.1, 4.3

How did you do on the work?
I feel as though I did pretty well on the work this week.  We were primarily focused on our big PCR lab, which was super cool.  We got to use several of the tools and techniques we have been learning about this week to find out our own genotype for a particular Alu insert.  My group worked really well on this lab, and made it through pretty well, with almost all of us getting solid results.  This was a particular relief after the lack of good electrophoresis results in my science fair last year!

What do you think you understand well?
I feel like I understand how most of the processes we learned about work.  I, for obvious reasons, feel most confident on the tools that I have had experience with, so gel electrophoresis, restriction enzymes, and now, PCR.  I feel like this week has helped me to connect the idea of DNA as both a physical substance and as a code, something that I already knew, but never really thought about.  The physical use of our own DNA, made it much more real.

Where do you think you could improve?
While there are some of the DNA technologies that I feel really strong on, there are a couple that I still struggle to understand. One in particular is the technique of microarrays.  I have watched the video and have talked to Mrs. Cole and India multiple times about it, but for some reason it just does not want to fit into my brain.  I also don't feel like I got the greatest of grasps on the Virus vodcast, as I did it later at night and kind of rushed through it a bit. Instead of taking my normal length of time.

What strategies will you use to improve?
To improve this week I definitely just need to take some more time with the material to let it really sink in.  I could find some more videos on microarrays, maybe something with a practical application will help me understand it better.  I also should go back through the virus vodcast to make sure I get all the information I need on that topic.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of this class?
Genetics is a huge part of the field of biology in the present.  There are so many huge breakthroughs and overwhelming possibility in the field, so our activities in class is super relevant to what is going on in the scientific community right now.  Getting experience with different genetic tools, especially PCR is valuable not only for growing our understanding of genetics, but practically if we want to perhaps go into biology in our futures.

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