Cairns college students crack their own DNA
INVESTIGATING fingerprints, copying DNA and performing gene sequencing has become just a typical day at school for St Monica's College science students.
In a bid to establish itself as a leader in science, the school has updated its curriculum to include a more hands-on approach to biology while making the most of donated equipment worth about $15,000.
Year 12 biology students have been bunkered down in the school's science lab this week to study their own DNA, using equipment which has come from various universities and private donors.
Academic adviser Will Trueman, who has a background in reproductive technology research, said students were treated to cutting-edge technology.
"What we're actually doing is extracting DNA from students and using the same technology used to identify the Bali bomb victims or Ned Kelly's bones," he said.
"We're taking samples from students and manufacturing a large quantity of it and then going searching for genes."
"It's quite amazing technology."
The school's commitment to science is paying off, with a growing number of students going on to study medicine and biotechnology at university.
Mr Trueman said the new facilities were helping attract students to the subject.
"Traditionally, girls haven't been big on science, but now a lot go through uni who are studying the genetic work we're doing right now," he said.
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Cutting edge: St Monica's College Students Emma Redmond (left) and Caitlin Stingel study their own DNA using $15,000 worth of science equipment donated to the school. Picture: MIKE WATT