UPDATE: 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology awarded to circadian clocks researchers!
Are you a night owl? Or a morning lark? The answer may be in your genes…
This lab allows students to test their own genotypes at the circadian clock gene Per3 locus that has been associated with sleep behavior preferences in humans. The coding region of this gene contains a VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) that is polymorphic (variable) across individuals. Different variants of this VNTR in Per3 have been associated with a preference for evening or morning activity, that is whether you are a morning or evening type.
In this lab students will get to assess their own Per3 genotypes using PCR and gel electrophoresis, while also assessing their sleep phenotypes by answering a questionnaire about their circadian preferences.
You will participate in an authentic open inquiry investigation on the genetic underpinnings of sleep, and have a chance to contribute anonymized data to a citizen science database of sleep genotypes and phenotypes.
This Learning Lab is aligned with National Standards and AP Biology objectives. It utilizes the following molecular genetic techniques and analyses:
- DNA extraction from cheek cells
- PCR amplification of human genomic DNA
- DNA gel electrophoresis analysis of VNTRs
- Statistical analysis of genetic data
The miniPCR Sleep Lab™ kit contains reagents for 8 lab groups of 4 students each (32 students):
- X-TractTM DNA extraction buffer
- 5X EZ PCR Master Mix, Load-ReadyTM
- Sleep Lab Primer Mix
- 100 bp DNA ladder