High School Resources

In the summer of 2019 teachers from Amherst Regional High School worked with the Vierling Lab to write lesson plans.

Phytoremediation lab lessons:


AP Biology – Two lessons using Biotechnology                                                              

Lab: DNA Extraction of Arabidopsis thaliana


Arabidopsis thaliana, commonly called Thale cress, is a member of the mustard family, which also includes cabbages and radishes. Our plants were obtained from the Vierling lab at Umass. Research there focuses on identifying the role of a gene called S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) in the heat stress response of the plant and its ability to maintain homeostasis. One method of determining the function of a gene is to disable it by inserting a piece of DNA within it and observing the phenotypic results (in comparison to a plant without the insertion). We will be working with both types of samples- one of them will be called ‘plant 1’ and the other will be ‘plant 2’. The overall goal of the next few days is to determine which has the insertion.

Purpose: Obtain genomic DNA from Arabidopsis thaliana. The GSNOR gene will be amplified tomorrow using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to check if an extra piece of DNA has been inserted, or if it is in the normal, wild-type state.


Lab: PCR Genotyping of Arabidopsis

Purpose: To use PCR to identify if each sample of Arabidopsis thaliana has an insert in the GSNOR gene.