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BIO101L: Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab

Unit 2: Basic Molecules   In this section, we will focus on understanding how the chemical properties of water, macromolecules, and DNA play a role in their physiological functions within organisms.  We will learn how macromolecules can be experimentally differentiated from each other, and discuss why this differentiation might be important.  We will also learn about the chemical and physical structure of DNA and chromosomes.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 5 hours to complete.

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Describe the properties of basic molecules. - Explain their importance for organisms. - Design experiments based on an understanding of their properties.

2.1 Water   - Web Media: John Kyrk’s “The Structure of Water” and Northland Community Technical College’s “A Closer Look at Water” Links: John Kyrk’s “The Structure of Water” (Adobe Flash) and Northland Community and Technical College’s “A Closer Look at Water” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click through these tutorials for a visual understanding of the molecular properties of water.  Think about how these properties affect the interactions between water and other types of molecules, such as lipids and other nonpolar substances.
 
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2.2 Macromolecules   - Reading: J. Kousen’s “Biochemistry - Proteins through Nucleic Acids” and University of New Mexico’s “Biological Macromolecules” Links: J. Kousen’s “Biochemistry - Proteins through Nucleic Acids” (HTML) and University of New Mexico’s “Biological Macromolecules”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read through these two pages to gain a better understanding of the chemical properties that differentiate proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.  Think about how these differences affect how each macromolecule will interact with its environment and other nearby macromolecules.
 
For the first reading, begin reading the text under the subtitle “Proteins” and continue through the section entitled “Nucleic Acids.”
 
The second reading is an in-depth explanation of the Benedict, Iodine, and Biuret tests, which are commonly used to test for the presence of lipids, starches, and proteins.  Be sure you understand why each “works,” i.e. how each tests for the presence of its particular macromolecule.
 
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  • Web Media: Oklahoma City Community College: Dennis Anderson’s “Organic Molecules” Lab Link: Oklahoma City Community College: Dennis Anderson’s “Organic Molecules” Lab (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the “Organic Molecules” link on this page to access the lab.  Click through this virtual lab to visually understand how Benedict, Iodine, Biuret and Sudan IV tests would be conducted.  Using your knowledge from the previous reading, explain the test results.  Then answer the following questions:
     
    1)    What are the identifiable differences between proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates?
    2)    How can these macromolecules be experimentally differentiated?
    3)    When might it be necessary to experimentally differentiate between these macromolecules?
     
    When you are done, check your work against the Saylor Foundation’s “Answer Guide 2.” (PDF)
     
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2.3 DNA   - Web Media: University of Virginia Virtual Lab’s “DNA - Big Picture,” University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “Build a DNA Molecule,” and John Kyrk’s “Chromosome Structure” Links: University of Virginia Virtual Lab’s “DNA - Big Picture,” (QuickTime, HTML) University of Utah: Genetic Science Learning Center’s “Build a DNA Molecule,” (Adobe Flash) and John Kyrk’s “Chromosome Structure” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please click through each of these tutorials to gain a visual understanding of DNA and its components.  The first tutorial provides a quick overview and the second tutorial presents you with the chance to create your own DNA strand based upon your understanding of the matching base pairs in DNA.  The last tutorial is about the structure of chromosomes, which are made up of DNA as it is coiled or folded.  As you go through these materials, think about the importance of the chemical and physical structure of each component.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.