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pGLO transformation

The central dogma of biology is DNA->RNA->Protein->Trait.

DNA->RNA is a process called transcription. During transcription, DNA is read by an enzyme called RNA polymerase which produces a  complementary RNA strand, but instead of thymine pairing with adenine, RNA uses uracil to pair with adenine. Once transcription is complete, the RNA strand is sent out into the cytoplasm. The mRNA strand is sandwiched between two ribosomal units, which then two tRNA attach to. These tRNA take the codons from the mRNA and translate them into amino acids, which they link together, forming a long amino acid chain called a protein. This process is called translation because the tRNA is translating the from the language of DNA and RNA (nucleotides) to the language of protein (amino acids). Then the proteins make up the traits in your body because they are the structure of almost everything in your body.

In the pGLO transformation lab, we genetically modified e.coli bacterium. We did this by placing pGLO plasmids around the bacterium and then, using heat shock, we made them open their pores to take in the plasmids. The plasmids DNA made new proteins called GFPs, or Glowing Fluorescent Proteins. This gene was turned on by the presence of arabinose. So the DNA from the plasmids was transcripted to RNA and then Translated to the GFP Proteins which made the bacteria glow. On one plate we had just the unmodified bacteria and LB (a growth factor). On another plate we had the unmodified bacteria, LB, and ampicillin. On another plate we had modified bacterium, ampicillin and LB. And on the last plate we had LB, Ampicillin, Arabinose and modified bacteria. on plate 1 we had lots of growth, but no glowing. On plate 2 we had no growth because the ampicillin killed the bacteria. On plate 3 we had bacteria but no glowing ( the plasmid we put in made the bacteria resistant to ampicillin). And on plate 4 we had glowing growing bacteria. The arabinose on plate 4 turned on the gene  that made GFP, which is why it is the only plate that glowed.


here is a picture courtesy of


DNA extraction

DNA extraction


Today we extracted DNA from wheat germ. We did this by putting ground up wheat germ into hot water and adding detergent to dissolve the plasma and nuclear membranes. We then decanted ethanol on top of the test tube containing the wheat germ, etc. The DNA precipitated up into the ethanol where we extracted it with a wooden stick.
The picture above shows the DNA (whitish cloudy fluid) floating in the ethanol (clear fluid) above the water containing the detergent and wheat germ (yellowish fluid)

experimental FAIL (photosynthetic rate experiment)

Here is a Prezi explaining our experiment and how awful our data was along with a few pictures of James doing sciency stuff.


Noctiluca scintillans (Sea Sparkle) is a dinoflagellate (a single-celled organism with 2 flagella) that lives near the surface of the ocean and its diet consists mainly of plankton. Although it is single-celled, its cell is quite large compared to other single-celled organisms and usually only one of the two flagella is visible. The flagellum is not used for movement, but rather to feed. It moves food into the mouth and removes waste.  It is the most common source of bioluminescence in the ocean. They emit a blue or green light from organelles within the cell (a chemical reaction). It creates it’s own source of light, unlike many other sea-faring bioluminescent creatures which rely on bacteria to produce light for them.

Some Pictures

close up of multiple sea sparkles

A whole coastline glowing because of all the sea sparkles



Bioluminescence [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from‌images/‌thumb/‌8/‌86/‌Bioluminescence.jpg/‌200px-Bioluminescence.jpg

C, A. (n.d.). Bioluminescence in the Living World. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from HubPages website:‌hub/‌Bioluminescence-in-the-Living-World

Noctiluca Scintillans. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2011, from Oceana website:‌en/‌explore/‌marine-wildlife/‌noctiluca-scintillans

Noctiluca Scintillans Varias [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from‌wikipedia/‌commons/‌5/‌53/‌Noctiluca_scintillans_varias.jpg

How Hydra’s interact with their environment -Predatory

Hydra are predators. Their tentacles are like jellyfishes; they have little stinging barbs (cells called Cnidocytes) that when touched, expel a poisonous thread towards the prey. The prey usually trigger many Cnidocytes at once, resulting in a fatal dose of neurotoxins.

This video shows a Hydra hunting and eating a Daphnia- ENJOY

Hydra with tentacles:

Close up of hydra tentacle (end of it)


Adopted organelle- The Golgi Body






Campbell, N.A., Reece, J.B., Taylor, M.T., Simon, E.J., Dickey, J.L. (2009). Biology: Concepts and Connections. (6th ed.) San. Franciso, CA. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.



Animal cell coloring plate


20111101-103315.jpgIt may be hard to see, but to actively read the page of notes, I went over the important sections in a translucent pink

The most interesting organelle

For me, the most interesting organelle in a cell is the Golgi-Apparatus. Its the most interesting because its name just jumps out of you and it has a very important function within the cell of sorting and modifying proteins.