Classroom Activity

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Key Topic: DNA Gel Electrophoresis

Multiple spaceflight experiments have demonstrated that microorganisms change the way they grow and respond when cultured in the spaceflight environment. To better understand the potential risks to astronauts, scientists in the Microbiology Lab at NASA routinely analyze infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that coexist with the astronauts in space. One technique used to measure the changes in DNA that sometimes occurs is a process called DNA gel electrophoresis.

Students will
  • analyze the nucleotide composition of DNA;
  • evaluate restriction maps of bacterial plasmids;
  • analyze models of DNA gel electrophoresis; and
  • predict the sizes of unknown DNA fragments by comparing them to known fragment sizes.

Note: This particular activity requires the use of TI-Nspire™ technology to be used successfully.

Files for use with the TI-Nspire™
› Space Bugs TI_Nspire Educator Edition (PDF 1003 KB)
› Space Bugs TI_Nspire Student Edition (PDF 196 KB)
Note: The following files are software specific files for Texas Instrument Nspire calculators.
› Space Bugs TI_Nspire Document (TNS 194 KB)
› Space Bugs TI_Nspire Document w/ Solutions (TNS 198 KB)

Related Resources
› VIDEO: Space Station Research