North Island Secondary School students Chabanee Matilpi and Dane Dick extract DNA from a kiwi during a lesson sponsored by Genome BC's Geneskool.

North Island Secondary School students Chabanee Matilpi and Dane Dick extract DNA from a kiwi during a lesson sponsored by Genome BC's Geneskool.

CSI: Port McNeill at NISS

Genome BC Geneskool visited NISS last week, giving students a chance to practice forensics for a day.

PORT McNEILL—North Island secondary school students became forensic crime investigators for a day and learned to extract DNA with the help of staff from the Genome BC Geneskool Friday.

Teams of instructors from Vancouver-based Geneskool visited North Island Secondary School and Port Hardy Secondary School for the day, and provided several classes at each school a chance to solve a mock crime and perform other genetic experiments.

The interactive lesson began with a mock “murder” on a ski outing. Students were given a list of six suspects and each suspect’s statement to investigators. The students were then encouraged to ask for other clues and evidence, ranging from fingerprints to blood typing and, finally, to a DNA test to determine who committed the deed.

They then were shown how to extract DNA from a kiwi fruit, using a solution containing detergent, saline solution, isopropyl alcohol and other ingredients.

Genome BC provided all the materials used in the instruction, which came at no cost to School District 85. The visits were part of a larger Vancouver Island tour that included stops in Port Alberni, Nanaimo and Ladysmith.

Genome BC’s Geneskool, which also hosts a summer science camp, tours the province to promote science education and the study of genetics in schools. It is funded by a range of public and private partners, led by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada.