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AP Biology Labs
 Molecular Genetics
A paper-scissor-tape activity used to help students envision the process of protein synthesis -- transcription, post-transcriptional processing, translation, and the effect of mutations.
  • Protein Synthesis Lab -- the instructions and questions.
  • DNA Transcription Template Strand -- Each student group gets one of these. I copy it onto cardstock so that it's sturdy. Please note that each strand is numbered -- 1, 2, 3, 4 (on the first DNA base) -- students need to tape them in order sequentially from left to right to make one long DNA strand.
  • mRNA bases -- Print each base's page in a different color and have students cut apart to build the complement to the DNA template (from above) during transcription. I tend to copy these onto cardstock so they are sturdier. Students only need to cut them around the rectangles, not around the nucleotides themselves.
    • Adenine -- I tend to copy this onto a very bright color (like hot pink) so it stands out in the 3' poly-A tail
    • Cytosine -- I like to print on bright blue (C for cyan)
    • Guanine -- I like to print on bright green (G for green)
    • Uracil -- I like to print on bright yellow
    • GTP -- for the 5' tail
  • tRNA Molecules -- I print these on lots of different light-colored cardstock since students have to write on them. I tell the students to use as many different colors of tRNA as they can to indicate different ones bringing different amino acids to the ribosome. Students must write the anticodon and the full amino acid name (use the chart listed below) on each tRNA. Then they cut the amino acids off of the tRNA as they go and tape the amino acids together to simulate the action of the ribosome building a polypeptide. Make them design their own ribosome with a small & large subunit and an A, P, and E site.
  • Codon Chart -- To be used as reference.
Click to download
Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab

Transcription Translation Lab







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