Project: Societal Valorisation Award: DNA Sequencing

Pyrosequencing: A new DNA-lab
Supported by CBSG (Centre for Biosystems Genomics).
The overall aim of this project is to inform high school students about the importance of DNA research and its potential to improve the quality of life of the global citizen and consumer. The main target of this project is to develop a new type of Mobile DNA lab based on DNA sequencing. We offer fully designed practical experiments to high schools, which can be performed in a classroom setting. These mobile DNA labs allowed students to experience how we can extract DNA from biological samples, and visualizing informative parts of its DNA upon PCR amplification.

The goal of this project is to develop a robust and rapid protocol enabling students to:

1. collect biological material from, for them, (un)known organisms

2. amplify informative DNA fragments (eg. Mitochondrial DNA)

3. sequence a stretch of 200 nucleotides (DNA building blocks)

4. identify the species through internet Blast search (an online search tool for DNA sequences

5. determine the identified organism’s position in the Tree of Life

6. complete step 1 to 5 within four hours

Following the outline as described above I would like to highlight the role of “Dierenpark ZIE-ZOO” in the initial part of the project. One of the aims is to amplify and sequence rDNA from domestic mammal material brought by students. To challenge the students we also wanted to include exotic mammals in the experiment. For this reason we approached E.Manders (the founder of Dierenpark ZIE-ZOO), who was enthusiastic about the idea of cooperating in this project. In this way, a fruitful cooperation between Wageningen University (Laboratory of Nematology) and ZIE-ZOO was established. As we speak, various hair and saliva samples of exotic mammals are collected in the zoo which will be used for sequencing. After DNA extraction and sequencing, students will be able to identify their initially unknown target samples via Blast searches.


  1. MD. Fakruddin e.a. Pyrosequencing (2012) Priciples and applications. International Journal of Life science & Pharma research.
  2. Karlsson AO, Holmlund G (2007) Identification of mammal species using species-specific DNA pyrosequencing. Forensic Science International 173: 16-20.
  3. Holterman M, van der Wurff A, van den Elsen S, van Megen H, Bongers T, et al. (2006) Phylum-wide analysis of SSU rDNA reveals deep phylogenetic relationships among nematodes and accelerated evolution toward crown clades. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23: 1792-1800.