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iLabs: Today’s Happenings — DNA Electrophoresis Camp

June 21, 2012

Great happenings today in our Micro World lab — we have a group of middle school summer camp students hard at work learning to set up a DNA gel electrophoresis. They’ve set up the gels (see pics below). Later the gels will be stained and then the students will look to see if any of the samples from the “crime scene suspects” match the DNA sample found at the “crime scene!”

The photos below show what a great job the kids are doing. Loading a gel takes a combination of surgeon-steady hands and a good eye so you make sure the tiny pipette tip goes into the well. VERY easy to puncture the bottom of the well or miss the well and shoot the sample all over the gel!  Aside from developing good pipetting techniques, they got to see firsthand just how small an amount 20 microliters really is. The kids are doing a wonderful job.

loading a DNA gel for electrophoresis

Here one of the students loads an agarose gel with a DNA sample from a “crime scene suspect.” After the gel is run and stained, they’ll determine if any of the suspects are the guilty party.

another view of a middle school student learning to load a DNA agarose gel for electrophoresis

Aside from needing steady hands to get the sample into the tiny well (without puncturing the well bottom), it takes good coordination to operate the micropipette.

the fully loaded DNA agarose gel ready to be hooked up to a power supply for electrophoresis

Here is the gel almost ready to be hooked up to the power supply for the electrophoresis.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Scout permalink
    June 22, 2012 11:42 pm

    I thought it was really interesting how the electrical current makes the DNA separate according to size.

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