Using Protein Gel Electrophoresis to Study Evolution
Students will separate a mixture of proteins from skeletal muscle using SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). PAGE is a poerful analytical technique having numerous applications in modern biology. Evidence for evolutionary relatedness amongst organisms can be determined using this technique. Suggested organisms to compare include various fishes, mammals, poultry and/or sea foods, all of which are available from the grocery store. During the laboratory, students will develop an experimental design, prepare samples of muscle tissue from various organisms, observe the process of electrophoresis and analyze their results. Analysis consists of comparing protein bands according to their molecular weights on the gel.
Life Science, High School, Honors, or Advanced Placement Biology.
Teacher Prep: Significant, includes a trip to the grocery store.
Student Time: Either a full day in-school field trip or four 45 min. class periods; if the second option is chosen, either the teacher or students need to be available between classes and/or after school to turn off the gels and prepare them for staining at the end of the third day.
Protein Gel Electrophoresis apparatus: (The number of electrophoresis setups required will vary depending on class size).
Reagents and Gel Photography Supplies
General Lab Supplies