Spenser Skates: Genome Engineering Day 2

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1. Take the log10 of the length of each molecular weight marker you can identify on your agarose gel photograph. Graph the log10 of their length on the y-axis versus the distance they migrated from the well on the x-axis, measured in mm using a ruler and the picture of your agarose gel. An example of such a graph is found in the introduction to today’s experiment. Use the equation of the line from your graph to determine the size of your M13K07 backbone (use the band in the lane in which you loaded the cut DNA). How does this measurement compare with the predicted size?

2. How many plaques do you expect if you plated 10 ul of a 10^-8 dilution of phage, if the titer of phage was 10^12th plaque forming units/ml? How many plaques would you expect if you tested the phage stock on strain DH5?

You would expect to see: (10 ul)(10e-8)(10^12 plaque forming units/ml)(1 ml/1000 ul) = 100 plaque forming units. On strain DH5 in particular I would expect to see around 100 plaque forming units as well as it is a strain of E.coli

4. Explore the legitimacy of the following statement: "synthetic biology is about engineering while genetic engineering is about biology."

Synthetic biology and genetic engineering are different degrees of the same thing. Genetic engineering is the first step in taking biology from a descriptive science to an engineering discipline. What separates it from biology as a science is the concept of modification of a biological system to fulfill an artificial (human created) goal, as opposed to furthering the understanding of biological systems themselves. Synthetic biology takes this even further by attempting to create biological systems from base components instead of simple modification of existing ones. In this vein, synthetic biology is more about engineering than genetic engineering is, giving credence to the statement that "synthetic biology is about engineering while genetic engineering is about biology." I still disagree with this statement, however, because genetic engineering and synthetic biology are only different degrees of bringing biological science closer to engineering and fulfill that goal to different degrees.