Thomas Pollom: Module 1 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?

Handed in separately.

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?

(10ul)*(1ml/10^3ul)*(10^12pfu/ml)*(10^-8 dilution) = 100pfu. Thus, I would expect about 100 plaques to form.

3. As you heard on the first day of class, the writing you are doing for 20.109 is the subject of an academic study and will eventually be published as an article. The author, Neal Lerner, has requested that you download the following Student Writing Survey, fill the information out electronically, then email the completed survey to "nlerner AT mit DOT edu". Please cc "nkuldell AT mit DOT edu" and "astachow AT mit DOT edu" on your message. He will directly follow up with some 109ers. Thanks in advance.

Emailed separately.

4. The oligonucleotide you are adding to p3 uses traditional genetic engineering ("recombinant") techniques. These are powerful and precise ways to move single genes from one organism to another and to make useful chimeric protein products like the one you are now working on. Synthetic biology is a newer approach to programming cells. Please read one (or more!) of the following articles and then write a paragraph exploring the legitimacy of the following statement: "synthetic biology is about engineering while genetic engineering is about biology."

The genetic engineer's aim is to see what he can do for biology, and the synthetic biologist's aim is to see what biology can do for him. That is, genetic engineers generally manipulate DNA in order to better understand what biological systems do naturally while synthetic biologists invent entirely new biological systems using standardized biological parts. While genetic engineers are generally trying to solve biological problems, synthetic biologists use biological systems to solve all kinds of problems. Arguably, genetic engineers are giving synthetic biologists many of the tools they will use in the future to build new biological systems. At the same time, the line which divides these two fields is fine, and researchers in both fields are undoubtedly working on some of the same problems.