This work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program and the Watkins Foundation of Wichita through the Watkins Summer Research Participation Fellowships for Teachers of Science and from the Wichita Public Schools (USD259).
Inexpensive and safe DNA gel electrophoresis using household materials†
Article first published online: 15 FEB 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 198–203, May/June 2012
How to Cite
Ens, S., Olson, A. B., Dudley, C., Ross, N. D., Siddiqi, A. A., Umoh, K. M. and Schneegurt, M. A. (2012), Inexpensive and safe DNA gel electrophoresis using household materials. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ., 40: 198–203. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20596
- Issue published online: 22 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 15 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Received: 20 OCT 2011
- the National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program
- the Watkins Foundation of Wichita through the Watkins Summer Research Participation Fellowships for Teachers of Science
- the Wichita Public Schools (USD259)
- Molecular biology;
- high school;
- laboratory exercises;
- physical sciences
Gel electrophoresis is the single most important molecular biology technique and it is central to life sciences research, but it is often too expensive for the secondary science classroom or homeschoolers. A simple safe low-cost procedure is described here that uses household materials to construct and run DNA gel electrophoresis. Plastic containers are fitted with aluminum foil electrodes and 9-V batteries to run food-grade agar-agar gels using aquarium pH buffers and then stained with gentian violet. This activity was tested in a high school biology classroom with significantly positive responses on postactivity reflective surveys. The electrophoresis activity addresses several Life Science Content Standard C criteria, including aspects of cell biology, genetics, and evolution. It also can be used to teach aspects of motion and force in the physical science classroom.