L'Oreal Young Scientist Centre

L'Oreal Young Scientist Centre

A Question of Taste

Our AS and A2Biology and Btec Science students will take part in the workshop 'A Question of Taste'.

The workshop, developed with the Wellcome Trust to mark Darwin's 200th Birthday, demonstrates how we as a species have evolved to lose the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a chemical found in vegetables such as broccoli. The research has found that chimpanzees have also lost the ability to taste PTC too and, until recently, it was believed to have been an inherited trait from a common ancestor. However, we have since discovered that it has done so by convergent evolution due to the location of this mutation.

In this genetics workshop, students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype.  The students will perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests, ultracentrifuge, micropipettes and gel electrophoresis in the analysis of their DNA.