Brunswick Students Explore DNA Technologies

After doing genetic barcoding as a lab during AP biology class at Brunswick High School, we decided to take advantage of an extended learning opportunity (ELO) and continue the study of local organisms. We collected organisms from a nearby stream —Mare Brook—as part of a larger study of the environmental effects of the surrounding infrastructure.


Using the materials generously lent to us by Deborah Landry of iXplore, we were able to extract DNA from the organisms and send genetic material to Genewiz to be sequenced. This information will help compare two different species (silverfish and spider) from two different locations on the stream. Along with the thirteen samples that were barcoded within the AP biology class, these samples will contribute to a genetic database of barcoded organisms and species in Brunswick, as part of the Maine Barcode of Life project.


In the biology classroom, students learned more about biotechnology and bioinformatics and how it relates to the local species around them. The extended learning opportunity helped fuel our interest in genetics and environmental science and how they are related. Thank you to IDEXX Labs, Maine Community Foundation Rines-Thompson Fund, Thermo-Fisher Scientific and iXplore STEM for their generosity and making projects like this possible.

By Erin Coughlin and Alex Morse, Brunswick High School Class of 2019

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