Creating a DNA comb for a Gel Electrophoresis Separation by Size Experiment Using a 3D Printer

Lindrick Outerbridge
IS 383, Philippa Schuyler School


Overview: How can you use the to create tools for advanced DNA experiments. In the study of DNA, a process known as Gel Electrophoresis is conducted to separate DNA fragments by charge or size. A Gel Electrophoresis apparatus can be obtained from a number of biological supply companies. Educational kits are often available.


Materials: MakerBot, Gel Electrophoresis Kit

Background: What does it take to be a board game designer? Game designers use an engineering design cycle to produce prototypes that are improved iteratively until the desired result is achieved. Anyone can be a game designer and produce a prototype with a 3D program like Google SketchUp and the

Featured Vocabulary:
DNA - Short for deoxyribonucleic acid. The nucleic acid that is the genetic material determining the makeup of all living cells and many viruses. Electrophoresis - The movement of charged particles in a fluid or gel under the influence of an electric field.

Warm Up Introduce the students to DNA. A discussion of TV Shows such as CSI In NY can be used a hook.

Discussion Questions What is DNA? How can we make instruments to help us analyze DNA samples.

Activity Students will work in groups to design a DNA Comb. The DNA comb is used to create wells in a porous gel such as agorose that is placed in the electrophoresis apparatus. The DNA samples are loaded into the wells. When the electric current is applied, the DNA samples move from the negative end to the positive end.

Going Further Create other instruments for scientific experiments such as a flask or other measuring devices

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