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Monsanto Fund grant empowers students in real world science

By Staff | Aug 20, 2015

A biotechnology student extracts DNA from bacteria as part of Lahainaluna High School’s Real World Science project.

LAHAINA – A $10,000 grant by the Monsanto Fund will enable students at Lahainaluna High School to conduct real-world molecular biology research.

The project, entitled “Real World Science: DNA Barcoding of Native Hawaiian Plants and Animals, identification and evolutionary relationships using DNA,” will be the first time students will be participating in this type of project in the classroom.

Lahainaluna High School’s biotechnology program is a career and technical education course. The curriculum gives students hands-on experience in a professionally equipped lab, doing real-life research that allows them to learn molecular biology techniques.

“The impacts of Monsanto’s grant goes well beyond the classroom,” said Steven Cornell, biotechnology teacher and Science Department head. “These funds will enable us to continue to advance science education as science advances. Projects like this also empower our students by opening their eyes to molecular biology and research, encouraging science literacy and helping to build pathways for those interested in pursuing scientific careers.”

In addition to students conducting real-world science that may be relevant to their own lives, they may also contribute to the scientific body of knowledge by submitting original DNA sequence information on Native Hawaiian species, which have yet to be DNA barcoded to a national database.