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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 Find out the real explanation for why your parents are so weird! Here is a science project that lets you explore the internet to find out why your "DNA blueprint" is so important to health and disease. In this science 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 works. In… 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 In a survey conducted from 2007 to 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 49% of people in the United States had taken at least one prescription drug during the past month, and about 22% of people had taken three or more prescription 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… 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
Baby Beluga may swim in the deep blue sea, but the song does not mention how cold it is out there! Find out in this science 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
Science Fair 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 stimuli and signaling pathways.
Material Availability Readily available
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
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
Science Fair 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
Science Fair Project Idea
Unlocking the three-dimensional structure of a protein is crucial to help scientists understand how it functions in our bodies and how it can cause devastating diseases if it becomes disrupted or interacts in the wrong way. However, figuring out the structure of a protein in three-dimensional space can be very challenging. Proteins are the functional units of our cells, and every protein is made up of a long chain of amino acids. Amino acids come in different shapes and sizes, and they have… Read more
BioMed_p008
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Understanding of what proteins are.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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