Yogurt, biofuel, biodegradable plastics, and antibiotics are all examples of products based on biotechnology research and manufacturing techniques. What else will we be able to create as we use biotechnology in new ways?

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Science Fair Project Idea
What is expression cloning and how is it used in the biotechnology industry? How are plasmids constructed for use in a bacterial expression system? You can investigate these questions and more using bacterial expression kits meant for high school classes. You will need a laboratory space equipped to grow bacteria and carry out simple molecular biology. A kit with plasmids and bacterial cells to transform are also needed. Here are two possibilities: BioBuilder What a Colorful World Kit … Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
Many people you know probably have an opinion about the kind of milk they like to drink—some like it thin and refreshing, others like it thick and rich. Milk can be bought with different fat concentrations, but other than that, it's all the same. Or is it? This science fair project raises a few interesting questions about the other contents in milk. Do all milk products have the same protein concentrations? Do cows produce different types of milk during different stages of lactation?… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
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
Science Fair Project Idea
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
Science Fair Project Idea
First came the Human Genome Project and now (drum roll please) the Human Proteome Project. 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… Read more
Science Fair Project Idea
It is fun to shake up a snow globe and watch the "snow" slowly fall. You can imagine that if the snow fell down very quickly it would be disappointing. But there are times when scientists in a laboratory want this to happen. Scientists use samples that have liquid mixed with small, solid pieces (like the inside of a snow globe), and they need all of the solid pieces in a clump, separated from the liquid. Instead of waiting for the pieces to slowly fall out of the liquid, scientists speed up… Read more
Science Fair 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
Science Fair Project Idea
Imagine that you could make an important piece of laboratory equipment in your kitchen. With this science project idea, you can! You will create your own centrifuge out of a salad spinner and some putty. In science labs, centrifuges are used to separate different liquids and/or solids from each other. You can load your homemade centrifuge with samples and see how they separate. What do you think happens to melted butter in a centrifuge? Read more
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 Extracting Onion DNA). The source of the material can be a cell… Read more
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
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Free science fair projects.