Paper chromatography of plant pigments

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INTRODUCTION: Chlorophyll often hides the other pigments present in leaves. In Autumn, chlorophyll breaks down, allowing xanthophyll and carotene, and newly made anthocyanin, to show their colors. The mix of pigments in a leaf may be separated into bands of color by the technique of paper chromatography. Chromatography involves the separation of mixtures into individual components. Chromatography means “color writing.” With this technique the components of a mixture …

Most commonly used chemicals in the biology lab

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Enzymes Phosphatases Antarctic Phosphatase DNA polymerases Reverse Transcriptase Phusion Terminal Transferase Pfu T4 DNA Polymerase Pfx50 DNA ligases Thermostable DNA ligase RNA Polymerases Escherichia coli RNA polymerase Restriction enzymes EcoRI SpeI XbaI PstI XmaI DpnI NheI MfeI NsiI Other Lysozyme Proteases Proteinase K Electrophoresis Agarose gel electrophoresis Ethidium bromide TAE DNA ladder Silver: 50x TAE Sybr Safe Kafatos:DNA 1kbplus ladder …

Virtual Laboratory Exercises

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Here are some useful links to find some simulations of lab experiments. Keep in mind that in the biology olympiad, practical skills are very important so don’t ignore it!

Summer research internships

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If you are wondering how to prepare for the biology practical exam, this article is for you. No matter whether you are preparing for the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), International Biology Olympiad (IBO), British Biology Olympiad (BBO) or any other competition, the practical part of the competition might be a killer so read on and you will find some tips …

Dilutions: Explanations and Examples of Common Methods

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There are many ways of expressing concentrations and dilution. Using C1V1 = C2V2 To make a fixed amount of a dilute solution from a stock solution, you can use the formula: C1V1 = C2V2 where: V1 = Volume of stock solution needed to make the new solution C1 = Concentration of stock solution V2 = Final volume of new solution C2 = Final concentration of new solution …

Practical skills for biology olympiads

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Laboratory skills are crucial for any biology olympiad, including USABO and IBO. Over the years of my own preparation and while tutoring others, I gathered this of techniques that are essential to know for the biology olympiad, especially for the International Biology Olympiad.   CELL BIOLOGY Use of a microtome to make slides, Cell Fractionation, Microscopy (measurement of objects), Immunostaining, Histology, Haemocytometer, Drawing of preparations, Maceration and …

Basic Skills for the Practical Part of the IBO

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

ELISA: Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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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

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Hello, In this lesson you will learn how to use a hemocytometer and how to count cells in your culture. Big thanks to 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

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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 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

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Hello, After some break, we will continue delving into biology.  In this lesson you will find out about animal cell cultures. Big thanks to 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

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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

More gene linkage problems

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This is a second part about gene linkage. Some solved problems can be found in the slideshow: Big thanks to and