Long Road College is the first college in Europe to be loaned specialist equipment to carry out gene transfers. Staff at the college attended a two-day training course at Homerton College and are now advising students on the processes.
The equipment is on loan from the East of England Science Learning Centre.
Chris Graham, Biology course team leader explains: “We have the equipment to do a gene transfer to make a genetically modified organism. This gives us the ability to transfer a gene from one organism into another, different, organism such as from a human into a bacterium: this is exactly the same process that is used to modify bacteria to make human insulin for diabetics – we are transferring a gene that makes a coloured compound (so that we can see that we have succeeded – you can’t see insulin!).
Students will be able to cut DNA using specific enzymes then separate the fragments using electricity run through an agarose gel.