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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
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.
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
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
Project Idea
thumbnail All animals have a genome, but do they all have genome projects? Find out which animals are currently having their genomes sequenced and how much we know already. Whose genomes are already finished? Whose genomes are just getting started? Find out by doing some simple bioinformatics data digging! Read more
Genom_p007
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
How a biological system functions is a consequence of the 3-D structures of biological macromolecules like proteins and protein complexes. Proteins can be categorized into different protein families based upon sequence, structure, and function. Typically, proteins in the same family have similar biochemical functions. You can investigate the structure of a protein by using protein databases (Entrez Protein, SwissProt, PDB) and 3-D computational models. You can compare the structures of… Read more
BioChem_p021
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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
Project Idea
Baby Beluga may swim in the deep blue sea, but the song doesn't mention how cold it is out there! Find out in this project how a bit of blubber can be a useful adaptation when the water is ice cold. Brrrr! Read more
Zoo_p044
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail The human kidney is the most commonly transplanted organ in the United States, numbering more than 17,000 transplants in 2010 alone! But kidney transplantation technology faces a lot of challenges, including a shortage of kidney donors and the need for recipients to take immunosuppressant drugs to keep their bodies from rejecting a transplanted kidney. In this science project, with the help of bioinformatics databases, you will explore how a kidney could be bioengineered using stem cells,… Read more
BioMed_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites An advanced biology course or equivalent understanding of how cells respond to environmental stimmuli and signaling pathways.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail In the first decade of the 21st century, scientists found ways to make one adult cell type turn into a completely different cell type. This has huge implications for the medical field, including being able to take some cells that a person could spare, such as skin cells or blood cells, and turn them into another cell type that might be much more important for that person to have, such as cells to make a new kidney. How are scientists able to accomplish this amazing feat of "reprogramming" the… Read more
BioMed_p009
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of how genes are turned into proteins.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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
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