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Department of Biology

Preuniversity course

2nd edition - Summer 2024

The preuniversity course offered by the Department of Biology is conceived to connect with upper secondary school education students at centres in Girona, creating awareness at a local level about the huge potential of university studies available to them close to home. The course also responds to call that secondary education centres themselves issue in their search for advice and support relating to research works (the famous TDR) that students wish to pursue at their centres. We therefore approach this project as one of collaboration between the university and the local territory, the goal being to grow together and benefit each other through synergies.

Course: Introduction to CRISPR technology

CRISPR stands for some repetitions of DNA found in bacteria that work to defend them against a virus. The description and understanding of this process has enabled a new technique of genetic editing to be developed that has revolutionised molecular biology. CRISPR uses some guides and a protein (Cas9) to go very specifically to DNA regions of interest and to cut them. From here, the ends that are cut can be glued and leave the gene inactive, or new sequences of DNA introduced which allow sequences to be edited at will. Before this technology appeared, these processes were already possible, but were slower and much more costly. CRISPR has facilitated the process, paving the way for new applications, and a great bioethical debate about what can be done.

A knowledge of many basic molecular biology concepts is needed to understand the system properly, how it works and what can be done. As with all experimental sciences, manipulating the technique first-hand offers a huge advantage in learning, although it’s not easy to take CRISPR into a teaching lab with successful results. The educational kit distributed by the company BioRad “Out of the Blue CRISPR-Cas 9 system” offers the possibility of teaching this methodology with all the materials prepared and tested.

And so, the first edition of the “Introductory course to CRISPR genomic editing technology” took place from 10 to 14 July 2023. As with all first editions, this was a test that showed us that this course has plenty of potential and that it can be repeated on future occasions. The level of satisfaction, on the part of organisers as well as of the participants, which is why we hope to repeat the experience!

If you are a upper secondary school education student interested in taking part in this course, check the procedure in the section on participation.

Take part in the course

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