Amino Labs

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Home Pack (Chapters 5-7)

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Suggested Add-ons

Time to get a reaction! Building off of Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Home Pack (Chapters 1-4), this new set of biotechnology awesomeness includes a series of advanced kits that leverage the skills and knowledge learned in previous chapters and pack. You will continue towards more advanced subjects such as extracting proteins from the cells you have engineered, expressing enzymes to catalyze chemical reactions, and controlling the expression of genes using chemicals and heat. 

The life science experiment kits included in this pack will take learners through the second part of the Genetic Engineering Hero's journey. In addition to completing the engaging hands-on activities mentioned above, you will also gain and practice further real-world lab skills such as microcentrifugation, culturing cells, inducing expression, and filter sterilization.

While the hands-on activities and learnings in Chapters 5-7 delve into more advanced genetic engineering, these experiments can be used by anyone with no life science research experience. No prior knowledge is necessary save for having had completed Chapters 1 through 4 of the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Journey, 2nd Edition book. View the full learning journey here

What's Included & What's Required:

  • (1) Extract-it Kit (Chapter 5)

The natural next step after learning how to engineer cells with a plasmid and how the cell reads the DNA plasmid gene (transcription), is to learn how to extract the engineered proteins from the cells. From a Fundamental concept standpoint, the next step is to learn the process that the cells use to read the RNA and create proteins (translation). The hands-on exercise of extracting the proteins that you have engineered is an excellent anchor point for the Fundamentals section of Chapter 5, Translation. In the hands-on activity, you will use every skill they have learned in Chapters 1-4, including lysing cells, streaking cells, incubating cells, and engineering cells!

  •  Smell-it Kit & Blue-it Kit (Chapter 6)

Now that you have mastered the basic concepts of cell function and lab skills of genetic engineering, Chapter 6 dives deeper into the chemistry that makes cells function. You will also discover a critical topic in genetic engineering - using enzymes to cause chemical reactions.

    • The Smell-it Kit enables you to first engineer bacteria with a plasmid that creates an enzyme and then culture those cells with a substrate added to the LB agar plates. The students marvel as their engineered cells transform the musky smelling substrate into an overripe sweet banana scent.
    • The Blue-it Kit also includes the engineering of bacteria to produce an enzyme. With the Blue-it Kit, however, you engineer the cells, extract the engineered enzyme, and complete a chemical reaction in a tube. The enzyme will convert a white powder into a vivid blue chemical.

The Fundamentals of Chapter 6 use the hands-on exercises as anchor points and dive deeper into chemical reactions. An essential part of chemical reactions is bonding, and so a light introduction to atoms, orbitals, and the four types of bonds are discussed. Ultimately you leave with an understanding of not only what proteins are but how they function.

Heat-it Kit and Induce-it Kit (Chapter 7)

With a good understanding of transcription (Chapter 4) and translation (Chapter 5) and the basic bonding used in cells (Chapter 6), you can move onto gene regulation. These kits use three different environmental factors to control the expression of genes.

    • The Heat-it Kit includes a DNA plasmid with a gene that has a promoter that is responsive to temperature. At 30 °C the promoter is in an OFF state; however, at 37 °C and especially 42 °C, the promoter can activate the expression of a colored protein. The Fundamentals section describes how the temperature-sensitive promoter relates to the cells' basic stress response and “hi-jacks” that response.
    • The Induce-it Kit explores the world of using chemicals to manipulate gene expression. In this instance, you first engineer cells with a DNA plasmid containing a color-expressing gene that is sensitive to the presence of a chemical. After culturing their engineered cells, you will add the chemical to spots on the Petri dish, and over a few hours, begin to see the expression of the color protein.
  • Instructions Manual: Easy to understand vocabulary and step by step procedures. 

Optional Add-ons and Needed Equipment: 

A microcentrifuge is an essential piece of equipment that is used in every life science research laboratory in the world. A microcentrifuge is a small toaster-sized device that can spin tubes (1.5 mL lab tubes) at very high speeds. This process allows you to separate different components in your tubes and is an important part of doing science. The microcentrifuge offered as an optional add-on can hold up to 12 microcentrifuge tubes at a time and spin at 15,000 RPM (~14,000 x g). It has a timer, so you set a time, start the centrifuge, and with the timer reaches zero, it will automatically stop spinning.

If you already have a microcentrifuge, you won't need one for these experiments.

Necessary equipment: 

  • A DNA Playground (Large or Home version) or a 37°C incubator + hot water bath + thermometer + crushed ice & ice bucket

  • A microcentrifuge that spins at least at 13,000 x g. Add the Amino Labs microcentrifuge if you do not have your own

  • Cleaning and safety supplies are not included. These supplies are latex/nitrile gloves, a chlorinated cleaner, or a solution of chlorinated bleach in a spray bottle.

Shipping Times & Handling

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Packs are typically shipped 3 -5 working days after you place your order. However, the microcentrifuge(s) may be shipped separately and can take up to 3 weeks for fulfillment.

The experiment kit(s) must be refrigerated upon arrival for a longer shelf life. 

Some components also require freezing upon arrival until use. These will be placed in bags labeled 'FREEZE' stapled to the outside of the Blue-it Kit, Induce-it Kit, and the Plate Extract-it kit.