Genetics on the GO
Genetics on the GO is a resource created by the Genetics Otago Research Centre in collaboration with the Genetics Programme at the University of Otago.
Our aim is to engage young minds with Genetics and to do this we have developed a range of resources that include information, worksheets and activities or experiments that will help you to plan exciting Genetics classes for your students. Our kits can be delivered to your school in a suitcase with all the necessary equipment and reagents included. Our Kits have been used by schools all over the country.
We are always interested in working with teachers to develop new resources, so please get in contact with us here if you have an idea that you would like to discuss.
While these kits will remain free for schools in need, we ask that you please consider a donation of whatever your school can afford to help in the continued development and upkeep of these ever-popular kits. We also accept donations from members of the public or organisations who have an interest in helping to educate our next generation of scientists!
Each kit costs us $50 – $120, depending on class size and location and in 2021 our resources were used by ~1400 students from Invercargill to Whangarēi.
You can donate by simply visiting our donation page. Thanks in advance!
All of our kits come complete with hard copies of necessary instructions and information and activities that can be used as a prelude to the experiment; all of which are available for download below. If you book the use of one of our kits, further tips and expected results of the experiment will be sent to you at the time of postage.
The majority of our modules can also be run as paper exercises without the use of the kit – simply download the relevant resource below.
Genetics on the GO Instruction Manual
The below PDF is a copy of the instructions sent with every kit. This covers what is included in the kit and step by step instructions from buffer dilutions to apparatus set up and the running of gel electrophoresis which forms the basis of the majority of our experiments.
1. Who Killed the Kiwi (or Who Attacked the Kiwi if preferred)
A conservation-based module with the aim of identifying the culprit of a kiwi attack. Students will use footprint tracks, hair samples and DNA analysis to identify the predator responsible. For older students, a paper-based DNA sequencing exercise can also be included.
2. Inheritance and Pedigree Analysis
Students will be walked through patterns of Mendelian inheritance including using Punnet Squares, the basics of drawing a pedigree (family tree) and tracing of a disease gene through a case study.
3. STR Analysis
Please be aware that this module is based around a fictional murder case, if you feel that this may be upsetting to any of your students please contact us to discuss options to modify this content. The key principle covered in this module is the use of short tandem repeats (STRs) as a forensic tool. Students will also use other forms of evidence collection in their investigation including fingerprint analysis.
4. Restriction Digest of Plasmid DNA and Cloning
This module covers the basics of plasmids, restriction enzymes and digests while working through a paper-based cloning activity. This can be followed up with a practical based confirmation of cloning step using our kit.
5. The Claire Kit: Rare Disease Genetics
This module has been developed with the support of the Claire Aldrich Legacy Fund and covers the identification of causal variants in rare disease. The module covers types of variation and how these can be detected using bioinformatics. The paper and computer based activities can then be followed up with a practical confirmation experiment. The module is also accompanied by short videos including the story of Claire Aldrich, as told by her mother, and a tour of a working Rare Disease Genetics Lab.
This module is separate from our kit and demonstrates how DNA can be extracted from fruit. This can be a good starting point if your students have had limited learning in genetics and DNA. The module explores what has DNA, and similarities in DNA between species and gives the students an opportunity to see DNA at a macroscopic level.
Although we do have a kit for this experiment that is available to Dunedin schools, we are currently unable to send this kit outside of the city. However, everything required for this experiment should be easily accessible to you. Note that isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) can be purchased from DIY stores (Mitre10, Bunnings etc) or craft supply stores (such as Gordon Harris) if you do not have access to it through a chemical supplier.
If you would like to book the use of one of our kits please download and complete the booking form and get in contact with us here.
Other Teaching Resources
In consultation with the Genetics teaching programme, our teaching resources have been developed by senior high school teacher, Praneeta Ramsay.