We are often surprised when teachers tell us they have never heard of the Gel Analysis feature in Logger Pro. This powerful feature is absolutely free if your school or college department owns Logger Pro.
Gel electrophoresis is a method of separating macromolecules by fragment length (e.g., DNA and RNA), by charge, or by size (e.g., proteins) using an electric field and a gel matrix. Specific dyes and/or stains are used to mark the molecules of interest. As shown in the data below, Logger Pro provides students with a fast, easy way to document and analyze gel electrophoresis images. After inserting a photo taken with a ProScope HR, a digital camera, or an existing photo from a file, Logger Pro can be used to create a standard curve and calculate the molecular weight or number of base pairs for each experimental band in just a few minutes.
The Gel Analysis feature is used in the “Introduction to Molecular Evolution” investigation found in our new Investigating Biology through Inquiry lab book. In this inquiry investigation, students extract proteins from muscle tissue, conduct electrophoresis of the resulting protein extracts, analyze the results using Logger Pro, and then use the results to construct a cladogram. This is an excellent inquiry activity that teaches core concepts in evolution. This activity is also correlated to AP* and IB** standards.
The “Forensic DNA Fingerprinting” experiment in our Advanced Biology with Vernier lab book also uses the Gel Analysis feature in Logger Pro. In this experiment, students use a forensic technique to analyze DNA samples from five “suspects.” The DNA is digested with a fixed set of restriction enzymes, separated by gel electrophoresis, and then analyzed for patterns of similarity with the crime scene sample. From these results, students then identify the perpetrator. Gel analysis is also used in the “Analysis of Precut Lambda DNA” experiment found in this book.
You can purchase everything you need to perform these experiments from Vernier and our partner, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. In fact, through the end of 2012, Bio-Rad is offering a 10% discount off of all of their kits that are aligned with either Investigating Biology through Inquiry or Advanced Biology with Vernier. Learn more about Bio-Rad kits and this discount »
For information on gel analysis, consider attending one of our free webinars.
* AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.
** The IB Diploma Program is an official program of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) which authorizes schools to offer it. The material available here has been developed independently of the IBO and is not endorsed by it.