Biotech Basics: Restriction Enzymes

What are restriction enzymes? Restriction endonucleases (also known as restriction enzymes) act like molecular scissors, cutting double-stranded DNA at specific sequences.  They are produced by many species of bacteria to protect themselves from invading viral DNA.  The utility of restriction…

Biotech Basics: A Plasmid Primer

What are plasmids?  In 1952, Nobel Prize Winner Joshua Lederberg introduced the term ‘plasmid’, a double-stranded, circular DNA molecule that naturally exists in bacterial cells and some eukaryotes (Fig. 1). Plasmids have been used by molecular biologists to study, analyze,…

Develop an affinity for science!

What is an antibody? Antibodies (also called immunoglobulins, or Igs) are specialized proteins that allow the immune system to distinguish between “self” and “non-self” proteins or polysaccharides.    Antibody molecules comprise four linked polypeptide chains: two “heavy chains” and two “light…

Teaching Genetic Diversity using Forensic Science

Explore genetic diversity with a cutting edge forensic science experiment! Your students become crime scene investigators as they analyze biological evidence using DNA fingerprinting, a technique that identifies people via genetic differences called polymorphisms. Gel electrophoresis is used to create…