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Posts tagged ‘DNA’

BIO-RAD Genetics home science kits!

We’ve been waiting for this item for a while, and because of some issues with the manufacturer it took a bit of time to get them in stock, but they are here! Three new products from BIO-RAD, a company mostly known for it biological educational equipment.

We’ll start off strong with the Genes in a Bottle Kit



New Giant Microbes – Tapeworm and DNA

It has been a while since we added new Giant Microbes. They’ve added some things to their line but we weren’t very impressed. But this cycle we have added two new items from their catalog. The first up is the Tapeworm:



BenchMark T9639 Thermal Cycler

BenchMark Scientifics products continue to get better and better. When they started they made a lot of simple, but high-quality and low-priced laboratory equipment. Things like Dry Baths and Centrifuges, which are not easy to make in high quality but don’t need a lot beside high mechanical quality & some simple electronics. But their line has steadily become more and more advanced with computer controls, computer displays, and other modern features. A lot of that growth shows itself in BenchMarks most recent offering: The T9639 Thermal Cycler:


Thermal Cyclers use heat in various ways to amplify DNA  by raising and lowering the temperature inside the Cycler. Since the method of amplifying DNA will vary a lot and some of the temperature controls are actually proprietary the Thermal Cycler is programmable and password protected. Several temperature control programs can be stored on the Cycler and unlimited programs can be stores on external USB drives.

Probably one of the great features of the T9639 is the large touch screen that you use to program it:


Setting up a program is simple as a Program Wizard is included and most programming can be done on one screen. The controls are simple and intuitive, yet very versatile.

Included with the T9639 Thermal Cycler is a multi-block that allows use of several types of common PCR and small tubes. 4583b

The T9639 can hold 96 x 0.2ml tubes or strips, or 1 PCR plate or 39 x 0.5ml centrifuge tubes. An optional In-Situ adapter allows the T9639 to hold up to 4 slides. Another optional version of the T9639 has a well plate that can hold 384 samples.

Priced at well under $5000, the T9639 is also a bargain in the work of Thermal Cyclers, which often can cost tens of thousands of dollars or cost this level but lack this level of features. The T9639 shines out as a bargain without sacrificing quality.

Want to buy the T9639 Thermal Cycler?

Want to purchase other lab equipment?



Biochemistry Classroom Kits

Part of the ‘side effects’ of the new electrophoresis sets we’ve added is that there need to be some classroom projects for teachers & students who want to use them. Well, when that happens next thing you know you’ve got all kinds of potential classroom labs to run! We’ve listed a few new biochemistry kits, some of them involve the electrophoresis apparatus, but others stand alone.

All of these kits are designed to handle sixteen students, operating in pairs. Activities take approximately 1 hour or two 1-hour sessions.

First up is the Properties of DNA Classroom Kit

In this lab, students will unravel Calf thymus DNA and spool it onto a glass rod. The materials provided include the DNA solution, and the materials to precipitate the DNA fibers. The DNA fibers can be up to 4cm long. The spooling is possible due to the double-helix nature of DNA. Students will learn about this and other properties of DNA. This classroom kit provides all materials except the very commonly available alcohol.The kit is just $104.95 and covers 16 students working in pairs.

Now the names might start to get a little long, as the next kit is Effects of Temperature on Cell Respiration

In this lab students use calibrated respirometers to measure the oxygen consumption and other factors in germinating grains. The exercise introduces students to a fundamental biological process and provides insight into seed structure and germination. This lab covers 16 students working in pairs. The kit costs $129.95 and includes the seeds and respirometers.

Taking advantage of the new Electrophoresis Apparatuses the next kits require the class have them available. The first kit is a simple, low cost Introduction to Electrophoresis

Costing just $47.95, this kit is a two-part lab where students identify unknown dye molecules by comparing their electrophoretic migration with the migration of known dyes. In the second part students identify dye molecules that bind to DNA and determine the mechanism. The exercise was designed for 8 groups of students and includes four colorful dye mixtures and DNA.

Hope you enjoyed that simple title, because next up is the impressively-named Specifity of Albumin Binding Classroom Kit, another lab involving electrophoresis equipment.

With this kit (no separate picture, sorry) we’ll just let the description speak for the kit:

“The binding of an enzyme to its substrate is only one example of the many specific molecular interactions that occur in biological systems. An analogous binding process occurs with serum albumin, which binds certain small molecular weight compounds and serves as a carrier molecule for these compounds in blood. In this exercise, students use an electrophoretic assay to examine the binding of various dyes to albumin. The results of this graphic analysis show that the binding of dyes to albumin is saturable, specific, compatible, and dependent on the native structure of the protein. The exercise is designed such that each of the eight groups of students performs a different experiment. Each group then describes their results and conclusion to the entire class. This exercise is a valuable experience in analyzing data and provides a fine introduction to enzyme kinetics. ”

OK, the final kit, which also uses Electrophoresis equipment, is a mouthful in the title alone: Electrophoretic and Chromatographic Analysis of Photosynthetic Pigments from Blue-Green Algae


Again, we have to let the kit description do the talking:

“Cyanobactera, also known as blue-green algae, obtain their energy by photosynthesis using sunlight as their energy source. These organisms have been considered to be the oldest and the most important bacteria on the earth. It is believed that they were responsible for the initial oxygenation of the earth’s atmosphere through photosynthesis and it is also felt they were the precursors to the chloroplasts that are found in true algae and plants. There are two classes of photosynthetic pigments in Cyanobactera. The first class contains water-soluble proteins and the major protein is called Phycocyanin, which is blue. The other classes of photosynthetic pigments that include the carotinoids and chlorophylls are small molecular weight molecules and are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol. In this laboratory exercise, 8 groups of students isolate and characterize both groups of pigments. In part A of this exercise, students prepare a water-soluble extract from blue green algae and show that it contains the single major protein Phycocyanin by electrophoresis as shown in the gel below. They also determine the charge of this protein by comparing its electrophoretic mobility to the mobilities of dyes with known charges. In part B, they prepare an alcohol extract and analyze the smaller alcohol soluble pigments by thin layer chromatography in order to identify the chlorophylls and major carotenoid pigments. The results of this two-part study give students practical hands-on experience with isolation of components from cells as well as electrophoresis and thin layer chromatography and introduces them to one of the most important organisms on the earth. ”

Despite the long name and description, this kit also handles 16 students in pairs, and costs under $130!

These kits are excellent for schools or homeschooling groups efforts. They are economical and include excellent instructions. They are an excellent addition to any Biochem class’s curriculum.

Want to buy Classroom Biology Kits & Equipment?


Electrophoresis Kits – Part 2 Time for the Classroom.

So in part 1 we introduced you to the new line of Electrophoresis Apparatus for use in lab or classroom.

Trouble is, an Electrophoresis Apparatus doesn’t do very much on its own. There are actually accessories needed to get it operational, and that is why for labs that are just getting into Electrophoresis. Some things, like the Agarose, is a consumable. Other items, such as the power supply, and a pipettor are crucial to electrophoresis. So several kits have been assembled to get all the hardware in place.

First is the EL-100 Demonstration Kit, this includes a EL-100 Electrophoresis Apparatus, Power Supply, Adjustable Volume Pipettor, and an Experiment Kit: Introduction to Electrophoresis

Parts not shown: Pipettor, Power Supply, Experiment Kit.

For more serious work in the classroom, a classroom kit has been set up using the EL-600 Apparatus with its 6 gel trays – This classroom kit comes with two pipettors (50ul) 2 racks of pipettor tips, power supply and EL-600 Apparatus:

For full classroom experimentation, more than a single Electrophoresis Apparatus will be required, for that there are two stations set up to handle groups of 16 (dual Station) or 32 students (Four Stations).

The Dual stations come using either the EL-100 (each with single 7cm x 14cm trays) or EL-200 (with two 7cm x 7cm trays per apparatus).

The Dual stations include two electrophoresis apparatuses, a power supply, and 2 adjustable volume pipettors:

The Dual Station El-1oo and Dual Station El-200 can support up 16 students

The Four Station Electrophoresis Kits also come with the EL-100 or the EL-200

The Four Station Kits include 4 of the appropriate electrophoresis apparatuses, 2 power supplies, and 4 adjustable volume pipettors.

In part 3, we will discuss the classroom kits available.

Want to buy Electrophoresis & Biology Classroom equipment?


NEW: Walter Electrophoresis Kits Part 1

Electrophoresis is a process used in forensic labs and other biology labs. It works by placing DNA material in a gel next to comparison samples and controls and applying current to the gel. The shorter molecules move further than the longer molecules through the gel like it was a sieve. Proteins can be sorted out and dyes are used to show the position of the material’s movement. You might have seen some photos of the results if you ever watch a courtroom video where forensic DNA is involved. Often the lawyer or forensic scientist is shown pointing at a acetate sheet with short lines at various intervals. This is an example of electrophoresis results.

So electrophoresis is cool! But you can’t just get some gel and plug it in. You really need an apparatus to do electrophoresis, and they can often be very costly.

But now we have several new electrophoresis apparatuses (appartati?) available. These are excellent for basic classroom work, from High School to College. They are also good for labs as well.

The primary apparatus is the EL-600 Electrophoresis Apparatus

The EL-600 holds 6 7cm x 7cm casting trays, each with a 6 Tooth Comb for making the needed indentations in the gel. (The comb is left in the casting tray when the gel is poured, then the comb is removed leaving divots for the samples to be inserted with minimal disturbance to the gel.

The pieces of the apparatus, which applies to all the Walter Electrophoresis Apparatuses are made of thick acrylic, making it durable and leak-proof. The chamber is UV transparent and includes two knobs at both ends which can be pressed down to assist in easy removal of the lid while minimizing the movement of the unit.  The power knobs connection jacks are marked positive and negative and will not allow the cover to fit if the incorrect lead is on or the lead is on incorrectly. The trays are also marked with positive and negative ends.

The EL-600 is the flagship of this new electrophoresis apparatus line, but for those who need a unit for small classroom work there are the El-100 and EL-200 .

EL-100 Electrophoresis Apparatus

EL-200 Electrophoresis Apparatus

The EL-100 and EL-200 are essentially the same apparatus, but the EL-100 has a single 7cm x 14cm casting tray while the EL-200 has two 7cm x 7cm casting trays, and two combs to boot.

All these Electrophoresis Kits do require a power supply to operate, either with 75V or 150V. Many labs may already have a power supply available, but in case they do not a power supply is also available:

Power Supply

Now to make the gel, you need Agarose to make the gel, typically 1gm of Agarose is used to make 100ml of gel. Fortunately we have BenchMark Scientific as a supplier of Agarose in 25ml, 100ml and 500ml jars:


Next up in part 2: The classroom and demonstration electrophoresis kits.

Want to purchase Electrophoresis & Biology Equipment for your classroom?