Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Science Education Partnership


This is a lab activity written as a scenario, in which students working as teams (we suggest cooperative groups) are challenged to improve the efficiency of bacterial transformation. They're employed by a biotech company to produce a blue dye (the X-gal cleavage product) for jeans. A pre-test ("job interview") is included to assess students' prior knowledge of transformation. To become familiar with the transformation technique, students first follow the standard technique, which we derived mostly from the Gene Connection, with reference to DNA Science. Then students propose an improvement to the technique.

Acknowledgements and Resources

We are indebted to Suzanne Black (Inglemoor High School, Bothell WA 98011), Carter Hoffman, SEP participants, and many others for field testing, comments, illustrations, and advice. References which contributed ideas and methods to this protocol include the Gene Connection v1.5 (1995), DNA Science (1990; 1995), NABT's Working with Bacteria and DNA in Precollege Science Classrooms (1993), and the EduGen Amylase Kit. Please see the Reference List for specific citations. Also, please note that this is written for SEP participants and that materials/assistance are not guaranteed to non-SEP participants .

Two Parts to the Project (in color-printable Acrobat Format)

Activities Exchange Index