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Science Fair Project Idea
Are biofuels the wave of the future? People often talk about these plant-derived fuels as a way to someday cut down on our dependency on non-renewable carbon-based fuels, like gasoline. Ethanol (a type of alcohol) is a common biofuel used today. In the United States, ethanol is a common biofuel additive to normal gasoline. In fact, some states mandate that when you fill up your gas tank, 10 percent of the total fuel volume be made of ethanol. Brazil, the world's largest user of ethanol-based… Read more
BioChem_p038
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This science project requires access to a biology or chemistry laboratory with, at minimum, pipettes and a balance.
Material Availability This project requires the Bio-Rad . See for details on how to purchase from Bio-Rad.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility.
Science Fair Project Idea
What is cloning and how is it used in the biotechnology industry? How are plasmids constructed for use in a bacterial expression system? You can investigate bacterial expression with the from the Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer Program to make bacteria express green fluorescent protein (GFP), as shown in Figure 1, below (see the Science Buddies project, ). With variations to this kit you can test the conditions for pGLO expression under different conditions. You can also combine with… Read more
BioChem_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some laboratory experience is required: knowledge of sterile technique, working with bacterial cultures, and using automatic pipettes are all helpful.
Material Availability This science project requires the purchase of Bio-Rad's . Details about how to order products from Bio-Rad can be found .
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility. Use sterile technique. Read the before starting any experiments. may be necessary.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have your favorite foods been genetically modified? Genetically modified (GM) foods do not require labeling in the USA, and foods with less than 5% content from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be labeled "GMO free." In Europe and Asia, GM foods require labeling only if they contain more than 1% GM content. You can investigate whether your favorite food products, like corn tortilla chips, are made from genetically modified organisms using the from the Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer… Read more
BioChem_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability Requires purchase of Bio-Rad's . Information about how to order from Bio-Rad can be found .
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is required in the laboratory facility.
Science Fair Project Idea
Are you interested in the technical and ethical aspects of genetic screening, forensic science, and DNA fingerprinting? Scientists use different forms of a gene, called alleles, to differentiate between two fingerprints. One such sequence used in human DNA fingerprinting is the Alu repeat (a 300 base pair repetitive sequence of DNA) on chromosome 16. During evolutionary time, up to 1 million copies of the Alu repeat have become randomly inserted throughout the human genome. Within a specific… Read more
BioChem_p022
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with PCR equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability available for purchase online from Bio-Rad. See for details on how to purchase kits from Bio-Rad.
Science Fair Project Idea
First came the and now (drum roll please) the . Confused? Not surprising as the Human Proteome Project has not received the kind of press that the Human Genome Project did. Nonetheless it is a major, and potentially important, scientific undertaking. Just as the genome is the complete set of an organism's DNA, the proteome is all the proteins expressed in an organism. Why study the proteome? It is because proteins are the work horses of biological systems, performing all of the biochemical… Read more
BioChem_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Access to a research laboratory with gel electrophoresis equipment is required for this project.
Material Availability This science project requires the purchase of Bio-Rad's . See for details on how to purchase supplies from Bio-Rad.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision in the laboratory facility is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
In order to study individual biochemical compounds like proteins, DNA, or RNA, biochemists need to know how to purify these components from a complex mixture. This is especially important for biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, which sell purified biochemicals as reagents or drugs to consumers. Do an experiment to purify DNA, RNA, or protein from a complex mixture (for purifying DNA, see the Science Buddies project ). The source of the material can be a cell line, bacterial culture,… Read more
BioChem_p026
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Most items are readily available; any specialty items needed can be ordered from .
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety If bacteria or cell lines are used as the source of material for purification, may be necessary. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
Some proteins are soluble in aqueous solutions and some are not. Insoluble proteins can be a problem because the proteins can form large aggregates in solution which are difficult to purify, crystallize, and use in experiments. Compare the amino acid sequence and 3-D structures of some soluble and insoluble proteins (Berman, 2000). Is the structure polar or non-polar, and how might this affect solubility? How do detergents make an insoluble protein more soluble? Investigate how this… Read more
BioChem_p018
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Basic introduction to chemistry
Material Availability A computer with Internet access is necessary for this project.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Some sequences of RNA can catalyze biochemical reactions, much like protein enzymes. These catalytic RNA sequences are called ribozymes. The function of a ribozyme depends upon the primary sequence of the RNA which folds into a 3-D structure. How do different ribozyme sequences fold? You can search for ribozyme sequences using Entrez BLAST (NCBI, 2006). Then you can use a program like MFOLD () to submit your sequence for an analysis of its predicted 3-D structures based upon thermodynamics… Read more
BioChem_p023
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Advanced biology course, or willingness to read up on such topics extensively.
Material Availability A computer with Internet access is necessary for this project.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever had to sort a jumble of objects into piles, based on their type? Maybe laundry, or a big load of dishes, or while organizing the garage or a closet? Scientists have to do something similar when they want to study or isolate just a single type of protein. For example, a botanist might discover an exotic plant that is poisonous when eaten, but that also has great antibiotic properties. To help develop a new antibiotic for human use, he or she would have to separate the different… Read more
BioChem_p035
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with how to use a micropipette is needed.
Material Availability This science fair project requires specialty items, including the Bio-Rad and a sample of green fluorescent protein. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. It also requires a number of common molecular biology items, such as pipettes, micropipettes and tips, and a UV light—likely obtainable from your school laboratory.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Follow all safety instructions that come with the Bio-Rad kit(s).
Science Fair Project Idea
Enzymes speed up chemical reactions by factors of at least a million. Now that's acceleration! This project investigates how temperature affects how fast these enzymatic reactions occur. Read more
BioChem_p011
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Must have access to a stove, refrigerator, and a freezer.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when handling the hydrogen peroxide, boiling water, stove, and blender. Adult supervision may be required for using the stove.
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