Posts about Electives

March 29, 2020

The Biotech Elective: A BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Favorite

Murthy, Anu-1Dr. Murthy is a Biology Subject Expert Teacher and a Teacher Mentor at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley. She is a founding faculty member, and teaches some of the most beloved Biology courses for our upper school Bobcats. Read on as she shares about one of the electives she teaches on campus.


It is finally Period 8, and students eagerly come into the classroom. They put gloves on their hands, get out the micropipettes from the cabinets, and do a final check of their protocols. They pulverize the chips they selected from the school vending machine (or their favorite snacks from home) with a mortar and pestle. Their next step is to isolate DNA, and set up a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify a 125 base pair nucleotide sequence from a cauliflower mosaic virus promoter (CaMV35S) typically used in most genetically modified plant products (GMOs). It is not enough for our Biotech students to read that most of the corn and soy flour that finds its way into their snacks is genetically modified; they want to use data to determine if that is the case.

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