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Science Fair Project Idea
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
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
Believe it or not, scientists were recently able to recover tissue from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil! Not only were they able to purify non-mineralized tissue, but they also succeeded in obtaining partial sequence information for protein molecules in the T. rex tissue. In this genomics science fair project, you will use the T. rex's protein sequence to search sequence databases for the its closest living relatives. Read more
Genom_p018
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
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
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 effect… 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
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
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
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
Science Fair Project Idea
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
The DNA in our cells contains our "blueprints," but it's the proteins in our cells that do most of the work. The Human Genome Project has allowed us to start reading the blueprints, but we still don't understand what most of the proteins do. This is a fairly advanced project that explores ways of identifying the function of unknown proteins. Read more
Genom_p002
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites High School Biology, excellent computer skills
Material Availability None required
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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