Science Continues to Lead – 23rd and 24th DNA Sequences Published in Genbank

September 22, 2014

Over time the Science Department has received national and local attention for our outstanding and innovative science programs, particularly the cutting-edge biotechnology program. In the tradition of excellence for which the department has become known, science leadership continues to evolve.

We have been informed by Genbank, the U.S. Government’s National Genetic Database, that our 23rd and 24th DNA sequences – accession numbers KJ93571 and KJ935472 – were published. Seventeen students, including current seniors and 2014 graduates, are responsible for this original work. These talented students presented their posters at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Convention in Boston and then again at the Systems Biology and Human Disease Conference at Harvard Medical School.

The students sequenced the entire COXII (Cytochrome oxidase, subunit II) and ATP6 (ATP6 synthase) mitochondrial genes from Crassostrea virginica, the Eastern Oyster. After extracting DNA from the adductor muscle, the students designed their own overlapping primers to amplify the genes and then sequenced the genes on the school’s ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer, a single capillary automated sequencer.

While at Harvard, the students spent time with former Sacred Heart students including Amymarie Bartholomew ’10, who graduated from Yale last spring and is currently a graduate student in the Chemistry Department at the Arts and Science Campus at Harvard, and Kasey Mitchell Brennan ’07, a Tufts graduate who  is in research at Harvard’s School of Public Health at the Medical Campus.

“We are not aware of any other high school who has published numerous sequences completely derived by students without scientific intervention…our students view this experience as a privilege,  especially since they sequence genes related to human disease without using human DNA, “ offered Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ ’65, founder of the biotechnology program.

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