The summer vacation in 2020 was different from past years. Many students and their families changed their travel plans due to the impact of the epidemic.
Zhang Shengxi and Zhang Yuanqi, two students from Grade 11 of our program, have explored the world of life science in another way. The results of their DNA barcode project completed in Cold Spring Harbor Asian DNA Learning Center were recently published on the American website, which marked a perfect end to their scientific exploration during their summer vacation.
The two students participated in a two-week DNA barcode project organized by Cold Spring Harbor Asian DNA Learning Center. During the project, the students explored the natural environment of Suzhou through the method of molecular biology. They have learned the relevant knowledge of ecology, evolution and molecular biology, increased their self-confidence, cultivated their love for nature, and used DNA sequence information to identify different species. This experience helped them in their journey to realizing their dream of being “a real scientist”.
Zhang Shengxi and Zhang Yuanqi collected biological samples and used advanced experimental technology to generate DNA barcode data of each species. They used DNA sequence information to explore the evolutionary relationships between different organisms. All student data was recorded in the Cold Spring Harbor Asia DNA Learning Center's large-scale collaborative project -- Barcode Suzhou: The Plant Book of Suzhou.
Recently, their barcode results have been successfully published on the US website, which has brought great affirmation to their research achievements.
Based on past work it was difficult to detect the DNA of shrimp and shellfish samples. The students decided to conduct sampling and DNA extraction in two groups at the same time.
One group did not stick to the sample size stipulated by the teachers and increased the extraction of the sample size, while the other group extracted according to the normal sample size.
The experimental results show that the increase of sample size can indeed improve the success rate of DNA extraction for these difficult DNA samples. This can also provide experience for students and researchers involved in this topic in the future.
"Always keep a questioning spirit, do not stick to teachers and textbooks, this is the spirit of exploration we want most," said Wang Xinyue, who’s the instructor of this project.
In order to provide a platform for students to participate in international projects, so that students can experience the advanced life of science experiments beyond the knowledge of books, the Sino-Canada Program has cooperated with Cold Spring Harbor Asian DNA Learning Center for four consecutive years, so that students can experience the beauty of life science at close range in a professional setting along side professional scientists.
In 2019 our program signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Cold Spring Harbor Asian DNA Learning Center and donated funds to the center for laboratory upgrading and other related academic projects. The purpose of this partnership was to allow for additional in-depth cooperation in teacher training, student curriculum and laboratory construction.
The Canadian Premier from Nova Scotia and relevant leaders of Suzhou witnessed this historic signing that will provide continued opportunities for all staff and students in our Program as look to the future for all students.