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ETD 19: A. Simplify the Biotech Terms: Gene Cloning, PCR, Labeled Nucleotides dideoxyribose (ddDNA), Chain Termination Sequencing, cDNA, RT-PCR, Microarrays, Hybridization, + Probe
October 17, 2013 at 3:15pm


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Tyler Brenneman
October 24, 2013 at 9:40pm

Parent: I learned that gene cloning is copying genes and you can do this process within bacteria, yeast, and virus's.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  If used for the good, one could clone small amounts of a virus and use it as a vaccine to help build up antibodies within a person so they can fight the virus if exposed.  If used for a bad thing, one could clone bacteria, virus's and yeasts to cause illness within a given population.

Me: I learned how much my mom already knew about virus's and bacteria. Being a nurse, she taught me that antibodies have memories. In other words, if you're are exposed to the same virus twice your body has already built up antibodies to fight off that given virus.



Kevin Turek
December 30, 2013 at 10:02pm

Parent: Gene cloning can be done through yeast and viruses, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) makes lots of clones fast, labeled nucleotide is putting colors of the ends of the strands to know what base they are,ddDNA is a chain stopper which cuts off that part of the instruction, chain terminating sequence inserting the code that codes for the breaking of the chain, mrna is messenger dna that codes for proteins to be built, RT-PCR makes many gene copies, hybridization is a mix of DNA and CDNA.

Student: This one was hard and took a long time to explain and it seems there are still grey areas. I know what they are in my head but im not very good at explaining it I guess, I had to look in the book on a couple. 

Kable Morrill
October 23, 2014 at 7:45pm

Parent: Kable explained that today's entry task was to define ten separate terms related to components and techniques used for analyzing and comparing DNA.  I chose a term at random: Probe.  Kable explained that a probe is part of a microarray sequence and is required for hybridization to take effect.  Really interesting!

Student: Going over this list a second time with my parents made me realize that I'm still in need of some studying. It seemed as though these terms just appeared Monday to me, and I'm not quite ready to be tested on them yet. Luckily, this gives me a chance to research them further and understand them to a greater extent.

Madison Boggan
November 22, 2014 at 2:45pm

Parent: Madison explained to me the definitions of lots of science terms. These show me that the biology is complicated down to the terminology. One that stood out to me was 

Student: I gave my mom a way to understand each of the terms. PCR is like a loud speaker. Gene cloning is like the mass production of one item of clothing. Labeled nucleotides are like adding post it notes to something. ddDNA is like a stop sign. Chain terminating sequence is like braille to help you read something. cDNA retracing your steps. RT-PCR is like a copy machine. A microarray is like using a light that shows what you wrote in a glow in the dark pen. Hybridization is like a mixture in a blender. A probe is like testing doors to see which one a certain key works in. 

Mary Fuller
January 03, 2015 at 12:39pm

Student: Gene cloning is copying genes with bacteria or viruses or yeast. PCR is using enzymes to make polymers by the amplification of DNA. Labeled nucleotides are when glowing tags are added to DNA to help read the code using radioactive sugar or other materials. Dideoxyribose (ddDNA) is when a phosphate backbone is attached to a 5 carbon sugar but is missing 2 hydroxyl groups. It stops DNA transformation. Chain Termination Sequencing is using labeled ddDNA and DNA to help read genetic code then using gel electrophoresis to separate fragments and read the code. cDNA is complementary DNA—it starts with mRNA and uses reverse transcriptase to turn mRNA into cDNA (the instructions)—only problem is that it is missing introns. RT-PCR uses a message and reverse transcriptase to make cDNA then uses PCR to make a lot of copies. Microarrays start with mRNA and reverse transcriptase to make cDNA and label them to see instructructions—it shows what DNA is turned on/expressed. Hybridization is a mix of DNA and cDNA—it is hybridized on a card to see which genes are turned on. Probes tend to glow and are made out of DNA or cDNA—it looks for a gene of interest.


Parent: Mary explained the different bioengineering techniques and how they all function differently but many depends on the other techniques to work. I found a lot of these difficult to understand but it helped to learn all of them since they are connected.  

Delaney Tiernan
January 23, 2015 at 9:23pm

Student: Gene cloning is copying genes with bacteria. PCR is a copying of lots of DNA, also known as DNA amplification. Labeled nucleotides add glow to DNA and helps you read the code. ddDNA or dideoxyribose stops the polypeptide chain because it doesn't have O2. Chain termination sequencing uses ddDNA to label and read the code. cDNA, or complimentary DNA is the mRNA message and is missing introns. RT-PCR is a message to cDNA that then produces many DNA copies. Microarray is a small chip that is able to read the messages sent by cDNA. Hybridization is a mix of cDNA and DNA. A probe is a chunk of DNA which is labeled with the genesStudent: Gene cloning is copying genes with bacteria. PCR is a copying of lots of DNA, also known as DNA amplification. Labeled nucleotides add glow to DNA and helps you read the code. ddDNA or dideoxyribose stops the polypeptide chain because it doesn't have O2. Chain termination sequencing uses ddDNA to label and read the code. cDNA, or complimentary DNA is the mRNA message and is missing introns. RT-PCR is a message  of interest. These are difficult vocab to comprehend, but with drawings, they help to understand it.

Parent: Wow! A lot of complicated vocab to know. Delaney seemed to have a good handle on explaining, although I was still a bit confused. So much to know. I'm impressed with the amount of material she is learning in this class.

Amber Neathery- Period 3
October 28, 2015 at 10:11pm

Parent: amber taught me that gene cloning is copying genes. you can use plasmids to do this. pcr is polymerase chain reaction which copies dna. dddna stops chain. chain termination sequencing means the dddna is labeled to help you read the dna code. hybridization combines dna and cdna.

Student: Explaining these terms really helped me to remember them; I wasn't very familiar with them before I taught my dad. Listed below are key points that I didn't remember before, but now understand.

Gene Cloning: Uses bacteria (plasmids), viruses (bacteriophages), yeast, etc

PCR/Polymerase Chain Reaction: Amplifies DNA- Heat to denature, separate strands --> cooled, primer forms H bonds with ends of target sequence --> DNA polymerase adds nucleotides to 3' ends of primers (2 double stranded DNA strands!) --> ligase seals

ddDNA/dideoxyribose DNA: Chain stopper; missing two oxygens, so it can't make a phosphate backbone

Chain Termination Sequencing: Label ddDNA to help read code --> gel fragment

cDna: mRNA + Reverse Transcriptase = cDNA. Problem: no introns :( used by HIV virus to infect host

RT-PCR: mRNA + RT = cDNA --> PCR/Polymerase Chain Reaction = DNA amplified

Microarray: RT-PCR, label --> DNA on array, cDNA bonds with complementary DNA- glows. So, glowing = gene turned on

Hybridization: DNA + cDNA in a microarray. Base pairing

Probe: Chunk of DNA to find other DNA complementary to gene of interest- make it glow

Anne Sweeney
December 09, 2015 at 6:59pm

Parent: Anne explained some of the vocabulary definitions involved in Biotechnology. I have a better grasp on PCR’s which help duplicate more DNA and labeling nucleotides helps scientists to single out the specific nucleotides they want to study by making them glow. Interesting vocabulary to know!


Student: To explain each of the vocabulary definitions I gave analogies for each one to simplify their meanings. For example, PCR is like a copying machine, labeled nucleotides is like post-it-notes and a hybridization is like connecting one paper chain pair to another. I learned that I needed to take each one step by step to get the meaning across. I nowunderstand the definitions better as I had to repeat their role in Biotechnology and make connections to the presentations we did in class.

Alyssa Hajek
October 31, 2016 at 8:02pm

Parent: Alyssa did a really good job of making some of this make sense with the post it note analogy.  definitely hard for this rookie to keep up with all of the terms and how they relate to each other but the class sounds like it is teaching the students an awful lot.  Great job.

Student: By teaching this to my dad I was able to remember the terms better.  I now better understand that PCR is DNA amplification and it makes lots and lots of copies of it which is helpful for testing the DNA.  I also better understand that cDNA is a complementary strand of DNA.  CDNA is created from mRNA using reverse transcriptase.  It is not exactly like DNA, however, because it lacks introns.  While teaching my dad I had to really work hard to try to remember all of the details and accurately tell me dad what each term meant.

Piper Connell
January 01, 2017 at 7:55pm

Parent: Wow.....lots of definitions....I did my best to keep up! Simplifying these definitions made it easier to grasp what she was sharing. I found cDNA the most interesting in that it has problems with missing information. 

Student: I talked about these definitions to both of my parents. It was fun to see their confused faces. This unit was really interesting to me, so I loved getting a chance to talk about it again. I was able to give examples of how these techniques would be used in real life, which created some great side conversations. It was helpful to revisit RT-PCR because the details of this concept were a little fuzzy. I brought in analogies such as a megaphone, and rewinding a video.

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