Citizen Science: Teachers from Tomelloso, Granada, Alicante, Navarra and Barcelona to receive training in molecular biology techniques to implement them in High Schools.

On December 9 and 10, 2021, six secondary and primary teachers from Spain, which participate actively in the citizen science project Melanogaster: Catch The Fly! (#MelanogasterCTF), have met in the Laboratory of Evolutionary and Functional Genomics (González Lab) of Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF) with the aim of receiving a training course in the technique of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electrophoresis, two techniques widely used in molecular biology laboratories. 

The training has been offered in order to teachers can acquire the knowledge and skills to independently implement the Citizen Fly Lab activity in their school. Citizen Fly Lab is an activity organized within the citizen science project #MelanogasterCTF. Citizen Fly Lab is a mobile molecular biology lab that allows secondary and high school students to participate in the experimental validation of data obtained by scientists from the European Drosophila Population Genomics Consortium (DrosEU). In the Citizen Fly Lab students validate using the PCR technique the presence of mobile elements in the genome of different Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly) populations previously identified by bioinformatics programs. Mobile elements are DNA fragments with the ability to move from one position to another in the genome generating a large number and variety of mutations. Therefore, their identification is highly relevant to the study of adaptation, because some of these mutations can prove to be adaptive. 

The course taught by Dr. Miriam Merenciano, a postdoctoral researcher at González Lab, was divided into two parts. The first part was a theoretical session, in which teachers learned the protocol for performing PCR and electrophoresis. The second part was an experimental session, in which teachers put into practice the knowledge previously acquired by carrying out the PCR and electrophoresis protocol. 

Teach & Fly is an activity that takes place within the citizen science project #MelanogasterCTF, which is organized by the Laboratory of Evolutionary and Functional Genomics (González Lab, IBE, CSIC-UPF), the science dissemination platform Science in Your World (LCATM), and the European Drosophila Population Genomics Consortium (DrosEU). The project is done with the collaboration of the Genomics, Bioinformatics and Evolution (GGBE) group from the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the UAB. This project is publicly funded by the European Research Council (ERC, H2020-ERC-2014-CoG-647900), the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the CSIC General Foundation (FGCSIC). 

For more information, contact the coordinators of the #MelanogasterCTF project. 

Dr. Josefa González:

Roberto Torres: