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Genetic analysis of students: How empathetic are they?

Genetic analysis of students: How empathetic are they?
Genetic analysis of a prospective high school graduate at the BG/BRG Kirchdorf

As part of a three-day workshop organized by biology teacher Karin Kalab, the students of the Matura classes at BRG/BORG Kirchdorf dealt with one of the most fascinating facets of biology: genetic analysis.

Reinhard Nestelbacher has been coming to the school with his mobile genetic laboratory for more than ten years. Genetic or DNA analysis is considered a standard scientific procedure that is used, among other things, in medical diagnostics, forensics, but also in food control. The students have been familiar with the PCR examination method since the corona tests were carried out.

Endurance athlete or sprinter?

In the workshop, they used micropipettes, centrifuges, thermal cyclers and lysis buffers to investigate whether someone’s genetic makeup is more like an endurance athlete or a sprinter, or whether their own family tree could possibly be traced back to Asian or other ancestors. Of particular interest was the so-called “prosocial gene”, a sequence of DNA that stands for an oxytocin receptor, which determines a person’s empathy and also their ability to bond. However, it was important for the course leader to note that these skills depend largely on the environment and the family in which one grows up.

The students experienced that scientific knowledge can only be obtained through very precise work. Conclusion: Afterwards, many of the students spoke of one of the most interesting experiences of their entire school career.

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Source: Nachrichten

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