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DNA Transformation of Bacteria: Red Colony

In this experiment, a plasmid with a gene (DNA) for resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin and the lacZ gene will be transferred into a susceptible strain of the bacteria. The same technique is used to transfer genes (DNA) for the production of insulin, growth hormones, and other proteins into bacteria.

The transformed bacteria are used in fermentation to produce commercial quantities of the protein for treating diabetes, dwarfism, or other uses. The cells that take up this plasmid will show resistance to the antibiotic and produce a color change (dark red) as the lacZ gene converts lactase in the media.

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Grade Levels

High School

Time Required

3 class periods including incubation time

Related Resources

Previous workshop participants may request free lab supplies.