Projects

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Field Trip

 
Here is a video about my experience at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, CA.

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DNA Extraction

DNA is a molecule that contains an organism’s genetic information, which determines everything about the organism. Physical appearance and genetic diseases, for example, are coded in an organism’s DNA. DNA extraction is the process of removing the DNA from the cells of a particular organism. DNA can be extracted from a common household plant, fruits, or vegetables. High-tech equipment is also not a requirement to do this. DNA can be extracted using common household items. In this investigation, shampoo, water, salt, and alcohol was used to extract the DNA from a banana. The banana is smashed in order to break the cell wall of the cells. The shampoo, water, and salt solution serves as a way of extracting the DNA out of the banana cells. The salt removes proteins that are bound to the DNA so the resulting substance of the DNA extraction is solely DNA. The shampoo breaks down the cell and nuclear membrane of the cells by decomposing the lipid molecules that make up these membranes; the DNA is therefore released. Later, the alcohol is added and the DNA becomes visible because DNA is not soluble in alcohol.

Extracting the DNA from banana cells was an interesting experience. I first decided to look up videos on how to extract the DNA and then looked for written procedures. These resources allowed me to understand how to complete this process. I made sure that the same procedure I gained from my research could be preformed using banana, as well. The fact that the DNA was visible was amazing and made my knowledge of DNA seem valuable because of the tangibility of the substance of study. The process was easy and I was surprised by the fact that I could use simple household items to complete the process. If I ever decided to repeat this process, I would use less banana and extraction solution. The amount of DNA I had was more than I expected. However, I was satisfied with the ease that I could see the DNA and remove the substance from the solution. This allowed me to further study the substance. I only wish I could have viewed the substance under a microscope, or preform gel electrophoresis.

Resources

“DNA Extraction.” The Gene School. Oracle Foundation, Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://library.thinkquest.org/19037/dna_extraction.html&gt;.

Strawberry DNA Extraction. Prod. Learning Solutions. YouTube. YouTube, 22 Oct. 2010. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGKv53zSRQ&gt;.

Sweeney, Diane. “DNA Isolation from Strawberries.” University of Washington, Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.gs.washington.edu/outreach/dhillon_dnaprocedure.pdf&gt;.

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Meiosis Animation

Meiosis is the process in which a single diploid cell, which has two sets of chromosomes, divides into four haploid cells, which have single sets of chromosomes. Meiosis produces gametes, or sex cells, that are unique. Meiosis includes interphase, prophase I, metaphase I, anaphase I, telophase I, cytokinesis (I), prophase II, metaphase II, anaphase II, telophase II, and cytokinesis (II). In interphase, chromosomes, centrosomes, and, in animal cells, centrioles are duplicated. A centrosome is an area where the mitotic spindle meets and grows out from; the region acts as a mitotic spindle-organizing center. Chromosomes then begin to condense and form x-shaped structures. The nuclear membrane enclosing the chromosomes also breaks down. In prophase I, homologous chromosomes, or two chromosomes that carry the genes that control a specific inherited trait, cross over. In crossing over, the sister chromatids of homologous chromosomes wrap arrange each other and exchange genetic material. Also in this phase, the mitotic spindle begins to form. In metaphase I, the chromosomes line up in the center of the cell and the centrosomes move to opposite poles of the cell. In anaphase I, the mitotic spindle that is attached to the centromeres of the chromosomes, or the region where sister chromatids are closest together, pulls the homologous chromosomes away from each other towards the centrosomes. In telophase I, the cell prepares to divide. The moment the cell divides is known as cytokinesis; this is the first time this occurs in meiosis. In prophase II, the mitotic spindle begins to form again. In metaphase II, the chromosomes move to the middle of the cells and the centrosomes move to opposite poles. In anaphase II, the chromosomes are pulled apart towards the centrosomes. In telophase II, nuclei begin to form again and the cells begin to divide. The moment the cells divide is known as cytokinesis; this is the second time this occurs in this process.

I am very satisfied with the outcome of my project. Watching the process of meiosis in this form was helpful in understanding how the process works. However, creating the project was time consuming as pictures of each desired position needed to be taken. Also, the chromosomes were hard to keep track of, as the chromosomes needed to be the same for each phase and correctly divided when necessary. If I were to do this project over again, I would use objects instead of drawings to make the transitions easier.

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How do different colored lights affect photosynthesis?

To check out the Prezi, click here: How do different colored lights affect photosynthesis?

4 thoughts on “Projects

  1. DaniR

    It sounds like the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve was fun. It looked cold as well. I never knew that there were so many organisms off the coast.

  2. Steve

    I never knew how easy it was to extract DNA, or that you could extract DNA from a banana. I was amazed by how much DNA you extracted as well.

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