Biotech Virtual Learning – Agarose Gel Electrophoresis

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Taking lab courses that are only VIRTUAL requires some creativity on the part of the student if you really want to prepare yourself for a job. To review agarose gel electrophoresis, I used a FREE VIRTUAL SIMULATION.

Praxilabs.com simuation guides you through the steps of separating DNA fragments by size via electrophoresis.

You begin with preparing the agarose gel by combining the gel powder with TAE buffer, heating and cooling it, and then adding a dye. I like that the activity includes setting up the electrophoresis device along with having to enter the voltage before running the experiment.

These simulations do have their challenges – absolultely no moving forward until you properly cap the bottles and discard your used pipette tips! Once you figure this out, the simulations run a lot more smoothly.

Once the device is set up, you prep the DNA samples and pipette them into the wells of the gel tray. I got stuck for a bit with the requirement to put a dark object underneath the gel to make it more visible so I had to go to the YouTube video to figure out what to do there.

The simulation ends with you using a UV Transilluminator to see the separated DNA fragments. However, the lab ends rather abruptly with only brief glimpse of the stained fragments. That was disappointing! But otherwise, I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.

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