Simple protocol for secondary school hands-on activity: Electrophoresis of pre-stained nucleic acids on agar-agar borate gels.

Research paper by Leticia L Britos, Guillermo G Goyenola, Silvia Umpiérrez SU Oroño

Indexed on: 01 Sep '04Published on: 01 Sep '04Published in: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education


An extremely simple, inexpensive, and safe method is presented, which emulates nucleic acids isolation and electrophoretic analysis as performed in a research environment, in the context of a secondary school hands-on activity. The protocol is amenable to an interdisciplinary approach, taking into consideration the electrical and chemical parameters of the electrophoretic system. Furthermore, the laboratory is framed in a more comprehensive pedagogical setting, which addresses the methodological aspects of a pivotal scientific enterprise such as the Human Genome Project. In this setting, the hands-on activity is complemented with animations, paper models, and discussions. Additionally, our results indicate that the use of borate buffer and agar-agar gels suits many of the experiments included in college-level laboratory activities, which currently make use of more expensive agarose gels and TBE or TAE buffers.