ERASMUS+ Meeting in Istanbul 30.04-11.05.2023

For the third meeting in the two year-long project „Modern Challenges in Gene Editing by CRISPR“ the ERASMUS+ team met again for a PCR lab workshop in Turkey. Participants in the European lab workshop were teachers and students from Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey.

International participants of the lab workshop

We did not only integrate our knowledge of the topic into the lab work. In advance we developed the idea to initiate a fundraiser for the earthquake victims in Turkey. Togehter with all of the partners, we raised a sum of 1100 Euros, which was presented to the headmistress of the Turkish school by Mina and Anna. The Turkish hosts showd their surprise regarding the donation and praised the european Thought of this action.

Handing over of the check to the headmistress of the Koç School

A verification of genetically modified plant material in foods by PCR conduction and gel electrophoresis evaluation was conducted at Koç School in Turkey. Background information about DNA, gel electrophoresis, PCR and genetically modified organisms (GMO`s) were presented by the international mentor teams from Pforzheim, Brno and the hosts in both English and Turkish. 21 international workgroups conducted the experiment.

Preparation of the PCR-samples

During the first day of the experiment the workgroups extracted DNA out of oats, as a negative-control. Then each of the 21 workgroups investigated a test sample to verify whether or not they were genetically modified. In total each group prepared six samples for the PCR including positive and negative controls. Before the start of the PCR the mentors programmed the Thermocycler according to our 40-cycle program. At the end of the day the first sixteen samples went into the Thermocycler to amplify overnight.

On the last day of the workshop the samples of the remaining five groups were amplified. Simultaneously Agarose gels were prepared to evaluate the results of the experiment. We used two different types of gel electrophoresis systems, self-made Agarose gels with Gel-Red as a stain and ready-made gels by the Lonza system. After all the samples were finished the international workgroups loaded their samples into their gel and prepared a presentation to evaluate their results.

Overal most of the groups were able to extract DNA from their samples and the amplification of DNA also worked for all the groups. But against the promises of the negative-control all groups got positive results with this sample and the Primers for the in gene editing commonly used 35S-Promoter (from the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus, CaMV) as well as/or the NOS-Terminator (from Agrobacterium tumefaciens), regulatory sequences. These results lead us to believe that this “control” was not GMO negative.
Conclusion of the investigation:
All of the groceries from the US were genetically modified. All groceries, which were bought in European stores were not genetically modified
After the successful experiment the Erasmus-team went on some cultural tours to experience Turkish culture and visit sights such as the Blue Mosque, Palace of Topkapı and the Grand Bazar.

Blue Mosque