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Others Like “Trace Your Ancient Ancestry Through DNA”

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Woolly mammoths shook the ground of ice-age tundras for millennia, living next to saber tooth tigers and prehistoric man. Although they have been extinct for thousands of years, scientists continue to learn more and more about this mighty animal. Some of the most exciting new research is being produced by looking at DNA extracted from the hair and bones of woolly mammoths entombed in ice. In this genomics science fair project, you will use bioinformatics tools to determine the woolly mammoth's… Read more
Genom_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with basic biological concepts, including DNA, proteins, and mutations.
Material Availability Must have access to the Internet.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail The first land animals took their tentative steps out of the ocean and onto solid ground around 365 million years ago. Over millions of years, these early ancestors developed into tetrapods, including amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Then, around 50 million years ago, the reverse process occurred: the mammalian ancestor of today's whales returned to the ocean. In this genomics science fair project, you will use mitochondrial protein sequencing to trace the evolution of… Read more
Genom_p017
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with high school level genetics (DNA, protein, mutations).
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You have probably seen figures showing how human beings are related to chimpanzees, gorillas, and other primates. In this genomics science fair project, you will use bioinformatics tools to generate your own primate family tree. Read more
Genom_p019
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites High school genetics
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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 Have you ever tried to pack a suitcase? If so, you know that no matter how hard you try, there is a limit to the amount you can cram in, which means if you have more stuff, you need a bigger suitcase! Do you think the same principle applies to DNA in a cell? Does an animal with a bigger genome need a larger cell nucleus to store its DNA? Try this science project and find out! Read more
Genom_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science fair project requires the use of a computer with Internet access.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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 [# Link Name="BioChem_p022.5" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] available for purchase online from Bio-Rad. A teacher's help is required as Bio-Rad only sells directly to schools.
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
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
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 How do scientists "copy" DNA? They use a process called the Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR. The key to making this process work is having a short piece of DNA, called a primer, that will stick to the larger piece of DNA you want to copy, called a template. In this science project, you will test how the number of matches and mismatches in a primer will affect its ability to stick, or anneal, to the DNA template during PCR. Read more
BioChem_p017
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A large number of magnets are needed.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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