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Aims and Expectations

The laboratory serves three main functions:

  1. Students obtain practical experience in basic techniques and applications in molecular biology and genetic engineering, including DNA isolation, transformation, DNA amplification, construction of recombinant DNA, gel electrophoresis, bioinformatics, etc.

  2. Students learn to write laboratory reports based on research data and theoretical background.

  3. The laboratory experience serves to aid in the understanding of the materials covered in lectures.

Each student will write a full laboratory report for each experiment (I-III). This report typically is due the week after an experiment has been finished. As experiments in a biological laboratory usually run for several days or weeks, students will need to update and expand reports regularly (typically every other week) based on what they have done those weeks. In this way, all results and concepts have been written up before memory fades. A schedule of what is due and when is available in the lab schedule overview . Students are encouraged to use the time they are waiting in the lab (during sample incubation, etc.) to get a headstart on the report update. Reports are due at the start of the laboratory time, and are corrected and graded by the following week. The week after an experiment has been finished, the full laboratory report for that experiment is due.

Each laboratory report (including report updates) will have:

1. Cover page
This page should contain your name, the experiment being reported, lab section, and an original title.

2. Introduction
The purpose of an introduction is to give the reader background information pertaining to the line of investigation followed during each experiment. It should detail general knowledge about the field of research and significant past experiments that have been carried out, and delineate the goal(s) of the current experiment.

3. Materials and Methods
This section should describe the procedures that were followed for each experiment. Because most of the Materials and Methods for this course are contained on the course website, it may be sufficient to cite these materials. It is important to appending any major procedural changes that were made during the lab.

4. Results
a) This section is reserved for presenting the data or results obtained from experiments. This may be done by summarizing observations, charting data or preparing tables and figures. Avoid interpreting (discussing) results in this section.

b) It is not sufficient to paste a figure or table into this section. The results found in the figures and tables must be described, and the most important features highlighted.

c) Figure and Table labeling:

i. Note that Figures are numbered sequentially and have their legends at the bottom.
ii. Tables, on the other hand, always are labeled at the top, and are numbered sequentially but separately from the Figures.
iii. The reader should be able to look at figures, tables and their captions and understand what the figure or table represents without reading the text of the results. On the other hand, the reader should also be able to read the text of the results without referring to the figure or table. Each of these items supports the other, and neither is complete without the other.

5. Discussion
The Discussion is used to interpret the data presented in the Results section. The Discussion is also used to revisit and answer the questions presented in the introduction, giving a general summary of what the experiment has demonstrated.  In addition, if the results did not quite come out as expected, a discussion of the potential reasons for this discrepancy is appropriate.

6. References
Cite literature references in standard format. (For example: Doe, J., and Deer, J. (2004) DNA fingerprinting of endangered elk populations. J. Wildlife Res. 75: 124-137.)

7. Page numbering
Pages should be numbered (except for the cover page), and each page should have your name in the upper right corner. Page 1 is the Introduction.

In addition to biweekly report updates, at the beginning of each laboratory period students will also turn in the answer to prelab questions for that day. Please make sure to include your name on your answer, and number the pages.

Laboratory reports are due at the time of YOUR lab during the following periods:

Experiment I: October 20–22*

Experiment II: December 1–3**

Experiment III: November 24–26**

*The Monday lab will not meet September 1 (Labor Day), and thus will be one week late for all subsequent lab meetings and lab reports.
**The Tuesday labs will not meet November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and thus will be one week late for all subsequent lab meetings and lab reports.

The grading for the laboratory section of the course will be the composite of grades for laboratory reports (contributing 50% of the final lab grade), biweekly report updates (contributing 25%), and laboratory performance (contributing 25%). Lab reports for the five experiments are weighted as follows:

Report I: 35%

Report II: 45%

Report III: 20%

Criteria used in evaluating laboratory performance are as follows:

  1. Preparation as evidenced by successful completion of prelab questions (50%)

  2. Involvement and motivation in the laboratory, as evidenced by attention, precision, and participation in cleanup (50%)

Report update and laboratory report grades will be assigned within a week, and with this timely feedback you can monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments early in the semester, so your lab experience will be as successful as possible.

Return to Contents

Instructors |Aims
Lecture Part: Schedule | Expected Background & Textbook Info | Historical Perspective
Intro to Biotechnology | DNA, RNA and Protein Synthesis | Chemical Synthesis, Sequencing, and Amplification of DNA |
Directed Mutagenesis and Protein Engineering | Vaccines | Antibiotics & Proteins | Bioremediation |
Microbial Insecticides | Plant Genetic Engineering: Methodology | Plant Genetic Engineering: Applications | Transgenic Animals
Human Molecular Genetics |Regulatory & Ethical Aspects | Biotech Inventions | Additional Materials
Lab Part: Aims | Schedule

Center for Bioenergy & Photosynthesis

Arizona State University

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25 August 2008

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