The AP Biology class had wonderful results today using the Bio-Rad Explorer pGlo Bacterial Transformation kit. The class is currently working on gene expression and regulation. In this lab, they were able to genetically modify E. coli with a plasmid containing three genes, one of which came from a bio-luminescent jellyfish and produces a green fluorescent protein. The class utilized a laboratory procedure known as genetic transformation, in which a cell takes up a new piece of genetic material and expresses it. The process reinforced concepts such as DNA replication, transcription and translation.  Further investigation will allow students become more knowledgeable about operons and their importance in gene expression.

The genetically modified E. coli, was ampicillin resistant and expressed the green florescent protein in the presence of arabinose, a carbohydrate. The protein glows when subjected to ultraviolet light, which can be seen in the pictures. Having a lab that successfully reinforces concepts being learned really allows students to grasp difficult material. Students and staff at Red Lodge High School are lucky to have the support of our administrators and community to offer upper level courses and have the funds to purchase materials and equipment to let our students explore new biotechnologies.

E. coli subjected to ultraviolet light. Only those bacteria with access to Arabinose will glow.

Each student prepared 4 plates. Two contained E. coli that had not been provided the plasmid and two that had been subjected to the plasmid and the transformation process.