The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 1, 2013

Science class to analyze DNA

Look for answers on ‘mystery meat’

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

“I told the kids, ‘I want you to be original,’ so one of them is going to use cotton to swab the inside of their dog’s cheek because you can see the breed of the dog (with the DNA barcode),” he said.

Recently, a hawk or a falcon was in the courtyard near Principal Mark Neil’s office feasting on some vermin. Afterward, Mathias and his students retrieved some of the predatory bird’s feathers and the remnants of the rat or mouse, which Mathias dubbed as “mystery meat.”

The feathers and mystery meat will undergo DNA barcoding next week to determine the type of bird and what it was eating.

Mathias said he also will bring in a few food items he’s curious about — such as imitation crab meat and his dog’s special lamb-and-rice dog food that lists chicken as an ingredient — to be tested.

“We’ll take the DNA and on the third day (of the labs), we’ll use a machine to duplicate the DNA over and over again,” he said.

The DNA eventually will be separated into waves like a barcode so it can be read.

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