Practical skills for biology olympiads

Laboratory skills are key for any biology olympiad. Here you will find a list of techniques that are essential to know for biology olympiad, especially for the International Biology Olympiad (IBO).    

Basic Skills for the Practical Part of the IBO

The official website of the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) released an updated guide to the IBO. You can access it here. The IBO practical examination should concentrate on the evaluation of competitors for their ability to solve given biological problems using the following skills. In the IBO tasks the names of organisms will be the national names (no description) together …

The concepts of sensitivity and specificity

Sensitivity and specificity are statistical measures of the performance of a binary classification test, also known in statistics as classification function. Sensitivity (also called the true positive rate, or the recall rate in some fields) measures the proportion of actual positives which are correctly identified as such (e.g., the percentage of sick people who are correctly identified as having the …

SDS PAGE tutorial

Hi there, If SDS PAGE sounds like a ridiculous combination of letters, you urgently need to decipher what these letter mean and understand the mechanism of this technique. As with all forms of gel electrophoresis, molecules may be run in their native state, preserving the molecules’ higher-order structure, or a chemical denaturant may be added to remove this structure and …

Protein Purification Tutorial

Hey, During the IBO practical you may be asked to perform a protein purification and then make some calculations. Thus, let’s introduce yourself to protein purification. Firstly, read the notes. Another one. Then watch a video to visualize how this process appears in a lab. Big thanks to http://web.mnstate.edu/provost/BiochemistryLabI.html


Probably the first thing you will do when you go to the lab is to take the pipettor and measure the volume of some kind of solution. So let’s review the main steps how to deal with pipettors. Then take a look at this video. And this one, too. Big thanks to http://web.mnstate.edu/provost/BiochemistryLabI.html

ELISA: Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

Hello, Today you will learn about ELISA – Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a test that uses antibodies and color change to identify a substance. ELISA is a popular format of “wet-lab” type analytic biochemistry assay that uses a solid-phase enzyme immunoassay (EIA) to detect the presence of a substance, usually an antigen, in a …

Cell Counting

Hello, In this lesson you will learn how to use a hemocytometer and how to count cells in your culture. Big thanks to http://web.mnstate.edu/provost/PlantandMamalianTissueCulture.htm. Read the differences between animal and plant cultures below: Firstly, take a look at a video so that you understand what it is all about. Below you will find a concise protocol of counting cells. To …

Plant cell cultures

Hi, In the previous post we discussed animal cell cultures and we now proceed to plant cell cultures which have some specific attributes to remember. Big thanks to http://web.mnstate.edu/provost/PlantandMamalianTissueCulture.htm. Firstly, take a look at the video about aseptic technique while working with plant tissues. Next, there are some theory notes. To end with, one more video.

Animal cell cultures

Hello, After some break, we will continue delving into biology.¬† In this lesson you will find out about animal cell cultures. Big thanks to http://web.mnstate.edu/provost/PlantandMamalianTissueCulture.htm. Before we begin, take a look at this video which presents how everything looks in laboratory. Let’s first cover the basics of aseptic technique and cell cultures. Then, it’s time to deepen your knowledge. Finally, …

Scientific drawings

In practical tasks sometimes you may be asked to draw what you see. Usually, the rules must be followed to make good scientific drawings. So read carefully the theory bellow. Scientific Drawings Big thanks to http://bioserv.fiu.edu/~biolab/labs/1011/supplemental_materials/Scientific%20drawnings.pdf.

More gene linkage problems

This is a second part about gene linkage. Some solved problems can be found in the slideshow: Big thanks to www.mun.ca/biology/dinnes/B2250/exercise7.pdf and http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/biology/7-01sc-fundamentals-of-biology-fall-2011/genetics/linkage-and-recombination-genetic-maps/MIT7_01SCF11_3.2sol1.pdf.

Polygenic inheritance

Sometimes in olympiads you can confront with tricky polygenic inheritance problems. As I noticed, all you need to know in order to successfully solve polygenic inheritance problems is to be acquainted with probabilities and understand Pascal’s triangle shown below: ¬†Pascal’s Triangle The Pascal’s triangle represents the probability of “either-or” events, such as heads or tails in the tossing of a …

Introduction to Biochemistry

Bellow you will find short biochemistry problems set. Download Big thanks to www2.fiu.edu/~bch3033/probsolns/Ch01.doc.

Descriptive statistics

  Below you will find a file with the concepts of descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics are numbers that are used to summarize and describe data. The word “data” refers to the information that has been collected from an experiment, a survey, a historical record, etc. If we are analyzing birth certificates, for example, a descriptive statistic might be the percentage …

Normal distribution

The figure above shows a graph that is known as the “bell-shaped” or Gaussian curve. It represents a “normal” distribution of a quantitatively variable character, which might concern height in men, or the level of resistance in plants. This variable is represented on the horizontal axis of the graph, and it ranges from the minimum to the maximum. The percentage …

Genetics problems with answers

Below you can find a great deal of diverse genetics problems with answers. Try to solve as many as you can and do not give up if something does not turn out right. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment. Big thanks to http://www.docstoc.com/docs/41377584/GENETICS-PROBLEMS-WITH-ANSWERS.