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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Native plants are important for both ecological and medicinal reasons. However, most native plants are not very well studied. One way to know more about these plants is to understand which other species of plants they are most closely related to. In this science project you will sequence part of the chloroplast genome from a native plant and use this information to determine its evolutionary relationship to other species of plants. If the plant you chose has not been sequenced before, you can… Read more
Genom_p012
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites High school biology class; familiarity with using the PCR machine and gel electrophoresis equipment, and/or using the equipment with a mentor.
Material Availability You will need specialized pieces of equipment, including a PCR machine (thermocycler) and a gel electrophoresis apparatus. If your school does not have this equipment you might want to seek out a mentor at a junior college, university, or biotechnology company. If you have the resources you can do the DNA sequencing yourself, otherwise you can send the samples to Dr. Baysdorfer at California State University, East Bay, see Experimental Procedure for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety This project uses ethidium bromide, which is a carcinogen. Always wear gloves and safety goggles when handling. Dispose of the ethidium bromide according to your school or institute's hazardous waste protocols. If you have concerns, ask your teacher or mentor for advice.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Our genes are made up of hundreds to millions of building blocks, called DNA nucleotides, and if just a single nucleotide of DNA becomes mutated it might cause a devastating genetic disease. But sometimes a mutation actually does no damage. What kinds of mutations have to occur to cause a genetic disease? In this science project, you will explore online genetic databases to identify how a mutation in a gene can result in a dysfunctional protein, and how other mutations may have no… Read more
BioMed_p007
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of what genes, DNA, and proteins are.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Did you ever wonder about your ancient ancestors? Who they were? Where they came from? In this science project, you will investigate the secrets of your distant past as revealed by your DNA. In order to obtain a sample for DNA analysis, you will scrape a soft swab inside your mouth to collect cheek cells. The cheek cell sample will be sent to a lab for processing, and the results of the analysis will be sent to you. Based on the genetic markers in your DNA, the ancient clan that your… Read more
Genom_p014
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with the concepts of basic human genetics.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Humans are complex creatures, but do we have the biggest genome? All living things, from humans to worms to bacteria have genomes. In this experiment you will compare the genome sizes of different organisms to find out who has the smallest and the largest genomes. Where will we fit in? Read more
Genom_p006
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail From 2005 to 2008, 48% of everyone in the U.S. was using at least one prescription drug, and 21% of people were taking three or more drugs. People are prescribed drugs all the time, but prescriptions can be dangerous because people can have different responses to drugs. These responses largely have to do with genetic mutations. Why are some genetic mutations associated with a different response to a drug? In this science project, you will explore an online drug and genetics database to… Read more
BioMed_p006
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of what genes, DNA, and proteins are.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Find out the real explanation for why your parents are so weird! Here is a project that lets you explore "the net" to find out why your "DNA blueprint" is so important to health and disease. In this project you will use methods that bioinformatics and biotech scientists perform on a daily basis to decipher the human genome in their efforts to diagnose and treat genetic diseases. Read more
Genom_p008
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites A good knowledge of basic concepts in genetics and good computer database searching skills
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Can you imagine Valentine's Day or Halloween without chocolate? Well, if you're a chocolate lover brace yourself for the bad news. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Worldwide demand for cacao now exceeds production." If there isn't enough cacao, the major raw ingredient for chocolate, then the chocolate supply will dwindle. Hang on! Before you start rushing to the store to buy all the chocolate you can get your hands on, a solution is already in the… Read more
Genom_p021
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A high school level introductory biology course is a prerequisite for this science project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Ever used a pair of molecular scissors? Restriction enzymes are molecular scissors that cut DNA into pieces. Find out which enzymes will cut, and where by making a restriction map. Then you can figure out what will happen if you change the sequence of the DNA. Will the same enzymes still cut the new DNA sequence? Read more
BioChem_p014
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen a tortoiseshell cat? "What kind of cat is that?" you might ask. A tortoiseshell cat has two different fur colors, black or brown and red or orange. The gene that gives rise to the red or orange fur color is on the X chromosome. And did you know that most tortoiseshell cats are female? That's because female cats have two X chromosomes, while males only have one, which allows the females to express two different color combinations! Try this science fair project to figure out… Read more
MamBio_p022
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should have a basic understanding of genetic principles.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever had a cut or a bloody nose that seemed like it would bleed forever? Though it might have seemed like a long time, it probably did stop pretty quickly. This is because different factors in a person's blood normally work together to plug the opening caused by the cut in a process called blood clotting or coagulation. However, some people have a genetic disorder called hemophilia that causes them to bleed excessively. If a person has hemophilia, he or she is usually missing some of… Read more
HumBio_p037
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Three different chemicals (sodium citrate, sodium alginate, and calcium chloride) need to be specially ordered. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision may be needed for using a blender. All chemicals in this science project are safe to use (they are common food additives).
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