Combine the practice of Engineering with the teaching of Biology
- Teach genetic selection and molecular biology through bacterial transformation
- Teach fundamental synthetic biology concepts
- Develop microbiology techniques and skills
- Analyze quantitative and qualitative results
- Apply ideas to meaningful real world challenges
In this lab, two closely related bacterial cell types are transformed with two color-generating plasmids. This content is relevant to genetics and inheritance lessons, molecular biology, and DNA expression units. Sterile technique and microbial culturing are emphasized in this streamlined and effective alternative to more common transformation protocols.
The engineering concept of ""chassis selection"" gives this lab a context beyond a simple exploration of the transformation technique. Because the pigments that are generated by the plasmids are visible to the naked eye, it's easy to discern if the expression differs between the two chassis, and the data can be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Students can design further experiments to investigate differences between chassis that might explain their data. One kit can accommodate 6 groups of 4 students.
Ordering information: Kit Materials include 0.1M sterile CaCl2, 1x 10 ml/tube; LB broth, 4x 5ml/tube; 1.5 ml microfuge tubes, 2x 30/package; Sterile inoculating loops, 2x 25/package; Disposable spreaders, 5x 10/package; Student instructions; Teacher instructions; and Coupon for perishables that can be redeemed by mail, phone, fax, or email 2 weeks in advance of when materials are needed Perishable Materials Include: 2 E.coli samples: (4-1, 4-2); pPRL DNA, 60 ulu of 1 ug/ulu; pGRN DNA, 60 ulu of 1 ug/ulu; LB+100 ug/ml Amp petri dishes, 4 x 10/package; and LB petri dishes, 2 x 10/package. Refill Kit Materials Include: 2 E.coli samples (4-1, 4-2); pPRL DNA, 60 ulu of 1 ug/ulu; pGRN DNA, 60 ulu of 1 ug/ulu; Student instructions; and Teacher instructions. Additional BioBuilder Materials: A well-stocked lab will have things such as timers, test tube racks, Sharpies, and ice buckets (as well as ice!). The BioBuilder labs also assume that some consumable materials are available, like pipet tips and nitrile or latex gloves. Equipment for this experiment that is not provided include a 42°C heat block or water bath, though almost any constant temperature appliance set at 42°C will work, and an incubator to grow samples at 37°C, though the protocol works at room temperature too.