SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Kids are getting a better understanding of their DNA – like why they have a certain hair color and even their ancestry. It’s all thanks to a camp at Sanford.
Owen McElroy is only going to be an 8th grader, but he already has an idea that he wants to have a future career in science.
This week, he’s among 20 students participating in the Finding your Roots camp.
“I feel like I’m finding out more about the process in which scientists find out their information and how they do their work,” camp participant, Owen McElroy said.
“We’re basically trying to understand what the 3.2 billion letters, the human genome, what does that actually mean and what does that do,” president for research, innovation and world clinic Sanford Health, David Pearce said.
Today, they’re taking a sample of DNA from their cheek cells to determine if they can taste a certain compound called PTC.
“Some people don’t taste it and some people say ‘that’s the most horrible thing,’ and reach for a glass of water, the basis being you just have a piece of your genetic makeup that makes you taste something like some people can taste spicy food and some people can’t,” Pearce said.
Basically, by taking the test strips and placing them on their tongues, they will be a bitter taste or tasteless.
“Whether you can taste something or not taste something it’s because of changes you inherited in your DNA, whether you have blue eyes or brown eyes are just changes in your DNA,” Pearce said.
Giving these kids a glimpse of what their futures could hold.
“It’s been really fun, really good activity,” McElroy said.
The students also submitted DNA earlier this year and will receive a report to give a better understanding of their ancestry.