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Well, kinda... making them glow is just being a bit fancy. And you need a light at a particular wavelength to get them to glow. I assume they inserted Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).

The traditional "Hello World" that I learned was to insert a functioning lacZ plasmid into a mutant E. coli strain that had their lacZ gene damaged. When you do this, you introduce a functioning lacZ gene into the E. coli, which will cause the colony to turn blue in the presence of X-gal. It is a nice and cheap way to do screens... but it isn't nearly as cool as glowing super-bugs.


LacZ is definitely Hello World in microbiology. From there you typically scale up with inducible/repressible promoters. Ara comes to mind.

GFP is a fun product to learn hydrophobic column chromatography. I still think it's best to start with nucleic acid separation before protein separation, though.

Aside from yeasts, there's no way you can do Eukaryotic stuff easily. You'd need a laminar flow hood and very sterile incubators.

Gel electorphoresis might be fun as well. At least my first run was fun for me :)

Just be careful with the ethidium bromide.

Depending on what hazmat disposal they have, they'd be better off using something like SYBR Safe, especially with beginners. It's almost as good as EtBr for staining, but not toxic. (Downside: it's much more expensive, EtBr is cheap as hell)

EtBr is cheap as hell, but the hazmat disposal needed to get rid of EtBr gels is very expensive.

That what lab assistant usually says. At uni we used some blue florescent dye that apparently got ionically bonded to P group of DNA backbone. It was completely safe(not carcinogenic). I can't remember the name of the dye, but results with EtBr were much clearer.

What about Methylen blue? Do you guys have an idea if this will work? Read it somewhere. But i don't think it is florescent.

If my memory doesn't lie to me, I think its a load dye, which only dyes the DNA sample to visually assist during the loading of the samples into the "wells" of the gel. Otherwise you can't be sure whether you put it inside the well or somewhere into the surrounding buffer.

GelRed is another safe one. It is designed so that it will not cross cell membranes. I don't think it intercalates either.

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