Practical skills for biology olympiads

martyna p Developing practical skills, Tips and Tricks

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.



Use of a microtome to make slides, Cell Fractionation, Microscopy (measurement of objects), Immunostaining, Histology, Haemocytometer, Drawing of preparations, Maceration and squash technique, Smear method, Staining of cells.



Acid-Base Equilibrium, Keq values, Spectrophotometry (Beer-Lambert law), Net charges of Amino acids and Peptides, Titration curves of Amino acids, Chromatography (affinity, ion-exchange, size-exclusion, paper chromatography + Rf values), Colorimetry, Enzyme kinetics, Enzyme inhibition (Lineweaver-Burk plot, Michaelis-Menten equation), DNA Extraction, Serial dilutions, Concentrations, Molar solutions, pH and Buffers, Henderson Hasselbach equation, Pipetting liquids, Protein purification, Protein quantification, Microfiltration/membranes and dialysis, Calibration curves, Testing for Lipids, Proteins and Carbohydrates (Biuret’s test, Sudan test, Ninhydrin test, Lugol’s solution test, Benedict’s solution test, Fehling reaction,  Tollens’ reagent test, Bradford protein assay, paper bag test).



2D electrophoresis, PAGE, Gel Electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE, Isoelectric focusing,  Western Blot, Northern Blot, Southern Blot, Eastern Blot, Hybridization, A Simple Immunoprecipitation Assay, ELISA, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RT-PCR,  Mapping Genes, DNA Fingerprinting, Deriving Linkage Distance and Gene Order from Three-Point Crosses, Genetic engineering, Restriction endonucleases, Restriction maps, RFLP, FISH, G-stain, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RT-PCR, RNA interference, Genetic manipulation, CRISPR-Cas9 system.



Potometry, Making sections of plant materials and staining them, Identifying plant structures and organs (leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruits, etc.), Discriminating major plant groups (e.g., algae, mosses, ferns, and spermatophytes), Floral morphology, Floral formulas and diagrams, Staining (for example lignin) and slide preparation of plant tissues, Elementary measurement of photosynthesis, Measurement of transpiration.



Identification Keys for various organisms, UPGMA, Observe and interpret animal behaviour: (Habituation and sensitisation, Associative learning – classical conditioning, Associative learning – instrumental learning, Social learning, Foraging behaviour, Imprinting, Insight, Latent learning), Construction of simple dichotomous keys, Identification of the most common flowering-plant families, Identification of insect orders, Identification of phyla and classes of other organisms, Hardy Weinberg formula, Estimation of population density, biomass, water and air quality.



Make dissections of an invertebrate (Ph. Annelida, Arthropoda, or Mollusca) and identify the main macroscopic organs, Whole – mount slide preparation of small invertebrates, Elementary measurement of respiration.



Bacterial transformation, Gram staining, Log Scales, Inoculation and Aseptic techniques.



Chi square, Student’s t-test, Probability and probability distributions, Mean, Median, Percentage, Variance, Standard deviation, Standard error, Bayes’ theorem, Binomial expansion formula.