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Aboriginal students get into the lab – Metro US

Aboriginal students get into the lab

Cody Iahtail has won an all-expenses-paid trip for spring break this year, but rather than lazing on a sunny beach, the 21-year-old Adult High School student will be isolating DNA from bananas in a food and nutrition lab at the University of Guelph.

Iahtail, in Grade 12, is one of a dozen First Nations, Métis and Inuit students chosen through a cross-Canada competition to gain hands-on experience in food science research.

“I’ve always wanted to work in the field of medical lab science and there’s only so much research you can do in a high school science lab,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity that will clarify whether this is a career I’m going to enjoy and be passionate about.”

Iahtail, who is of First Nations descent, will work with scientists Rickey Yada and Alejandro Marangoni as they use basic chemical techniques to isolate DNA from different fruits and then visualize it using a technique called gel electrophoresis.

The internship program is sponsored by the federally funded Advanced Foods and Materials Network to encourage more aboriginal students to consider science as a career.

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