-->
Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

The Size of GFP

test tubesThe Science Buddies library of science fair project ideas recently got a bit of glow and an unusual dose of "green" in the form of a new project that uses chromatography. The "green" in this case is "green florescent protein (GFP)," and the project uses a study of GFP to demonstrate "size-exclusion chromatography."

Looking at the etymology of the word chromatography, you know that chromatography is related to color ... and to paper. The word derives from Greek words meaning "color" and "to write," and many chromatography projects involve paper chromatography. The origins of chromatography stem from early studies of plant-based pigments like chlorophyll.

Using chromatography, students can analyze the quantity of dyes and pigments in both natural and man-made products. In short-term science fair projects that can be performed in a number of hours, students can use paper chromatography to compare the inks in permanent black markers or to determine the breakdown of dyes in the composition of the hard-shell exterior of favorite candy-coated candies. With a bit more time available, paper chromatography can be used to study and compare pigments in red flower petals.

While these projects involve paper-based methods, chromatography is not always paper-based. Instead, chromatography is an umbrella term for laboratory techniques that assist in the separation of mixtures.

In "Sizing It Up! How Scientists Separate Proteins," a science fair project idea authored by a teacher-student team from Tracy High School in San Joaquin county, CA, students use a Size-exclusion Chromatography Kit from Bio-Rad, sponsor of Science Buddies' biotechnology projects and resources, to explore size-exclusion chromatography as they create mixtures and break them down again to determine the size of GFP, a protein which glows green when exposed to blue light.

A bit of time in a dark room with a blue light, a green protein first isolated from a jellyfish, and combinations of hemoglobin and vitamin B12 – it's got the makings of a hit classroom or home-based project. Plus, it's a great way to get a hands-on look at what's involved in separating proteins – a critical step in biotechnology, from drug development and research to analysis and tracking of toxins.


Getting Started:

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


thumbnail
With a smorgasbord of fun, engaging, playful, and puzzling modules available as part of the Hour of Code initiative, kids can experiment with programming basics and sample Javascript, Python, Ruby, and more.

thumbnail
The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest gives U.S. secondary public schools a chance to use STEM to help address problems affecting their students and communities--and a chance at a share of $2 million in technology.

thumbnail
Are the seeds in your watermelon playing hide-and-seek? Can plants grow without soil? The plant world offers a cornucopia of mysteries that are ripe for investigation.

thumbnail
Science Buddies in Action: For a third grade student with an interest in science and pinewood derby cars, the Maglev Train project combined a fun DIY activity with engaging science.

thumbnail
With support from Amgen and the Lawrence Hall of Science, high school biology in the Bay Area has gotten a world-class boost of biotechnology. The Amgen Biotechnology Experience gives teachers and students the opportunity to experiment with sophisticated hands-on science...

thumbnail
The Rosetta spacecraft may help provide information about the formation of the solar system and planet Earth. Students and classes explore comets and space science through hands-on science projects.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.