Question: What is the best experiment you have done yourself

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  1. My all time favourite experiment is called the Tollens Test. This is an experiment to test for two classes of chemicals called aldehydes and ketones. The cool thing about this experiment is that when the test is positive, you will know because your flask has turned into a mirror. Here is a picture of what happens


  2. My favourite experiment was when I extracted my own DNA and determined my own forensic DNA profile. It’s really cool to see what your own DNA profile looks like and you can even use this information to determine how frequently your markers match others in the population, and whether you carry any odd mutations that make your DNA profile rare. (Not so good if you are hoping to commit crimes because the more rare the differences at markers are, the more rare the overall DNA profile is and it can linked with the owner with very high probability!)

    As well as this, I typed my mitchondrial DNA typed ( Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from you mother, so it can be used for tracing genetic lineages through the maternal line (ie. children, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother etc). There are certain markers in mitochondrial DNA that are linked to certain periods of time and geographical location. These markers are grouped into haplogroups and can be traced to a a set of mutations called “Mitochondrial Eve” in Africa around 200,000 years ago. The reason it’s called Mitochondrial Eve is because all mitochondrial mutations have arisen from this first mitochondrial type.

    So the result was that I am in haplogroup V – this is an interesting result, as I’m of European descent and most the most common set of mitochondrial mutations in European is haplogroup H. In modern day Europe the set of mutations that make up my haplogroup (V) are only now really found in high frequencies in small groups/tribes – the Saami People of Northern Scandinavia, the Basque people (Spain and France) and the Berbers in Tanzania. The haplogroup is fairly recent compared to Mitochondrial Eve, and is thought to have originated about 13,600 years ago somewhere in the Mediterranean.

    Learning about my own genetic ancestry has been the best experiment so far, because it helped me learn about who I am from a genetic point of view, and improve my understanding of the markers we use to study genetics and how this applies to identification, population genetics and human history.


  3. The best “experiment” I’ve ever done myself would be POTBots (read in my profile). It was a test to see if my colleges and I could make cheap underwater video cameras … for science of course. It I would say the experiment is a success.


  4. The best experiment I have done was to use a well known bacterium Escherichia coli and to add some DNA into its genome to test which genes might be making certain bacterial species cause disease. This experiment is called cloning and you grow the bacterial cells on media so that the mutants (the ones with extra DNA) and non-mutated cells grow colonies of either blue or white.



  1. Jeannette that was long!!!!

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    • I know halle (and I’m sorry) but I’m trying to explain things as well as I can – and DNA takes a lot to explain!

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  2. @ReneeWebster – that is so awesome! Almost makes me want to abandon biology and study chemistry instead!

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