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Archive of SEPGuides (5.1.2017): Bacterial Transformation Kit

Kit Description

Teacher with plates

4 Kits

2 Crates per Kit plus Incubator

Students are hired as employees of “Genes-R-Us” to work on a procedure for transforming pBLU© plasmid DNA into E. coli. A great lab for teaching students that DNA codes for instructions that give cells visible characteristics. Teachers have the option to let students work on optimizing the transformation procedure as a second component to the lab.

NOTES: Teacher must supply heat source to melt agar, along with ethanol or bleach, and ice.

SEP teachers who have their own equipment may request supplies only. Use the form at the link below or select the Supplies request under the yellow Kits tab.

pBLU Tranformation

This lab uses a scenario called "Gene R Us" in which the students are hired to transform bacteria using the a plasmid called pBLU. The lab uses ampicillin, X-Gal, and pBLU to create bacteria that produce a blue dye. 

pFLO Transformation

SEP has six new plasmids that produce blue, red, purple, green, orange, and yellow fluorescent proteins. The colors are visible under full spectrum light (sun/artificial room lighting), and fluoresce upon illumination with a black light that SEP can provide.

The plasmids are from the ScienceBridge program at UC San Diego.

If you are interested in using these plasmids with your SEP Transformation Kit loan, please email us at

Additional Web Resources

Resources on the wide world of bacteria worth checking out.

Journal Articles

These journal articles cover a wide array of genetic engineering topics.

Bacterial Transformation Notebook Table of Contents

Table of Contents  
Tab Document
Kit Inventory Complete List of Equipment and Materials Included
Bacterial Transformation Kit Inventory List
Bact. Transformation Supplies Only Inventory List
Genes-R-Us Teacher's Guide
pBLU Transformation Kit and Genes R Us Scenario
  pBLU Transformation Help
Teaching tips and trouble-shooting guide
  Genes R Us
Student Protocol
Solutions How to Make Solutions and Dilutions in the Lab
From At the Bench:A Laboratory Navigator by Kathy Barker, 1998
Safety Information Laboratory Biosafety
From Appendix C: Laboratory DNA Science
  Materials Safety Data Sheet: E. coli K12 JM101
From New England Biolabs MSDS
  Laboratory Safety
From Laboratory DNA Science
  Science Department Safety Training Notes
From Flinn Scientific, Volume 7, No. 1
Extensions Lesson 13 Variations in appearances: E. coli Model
This is from MSEC St Louis
  Biotechnology Unit for Secondary Students
From Biotechnology Education Project 1990
Supplemental Information Getting DNA into a Cell: A Survey of Transformation Methods
From The American Biology Teacher, Vol 56, No 1, Jan 1994, by Susan Karcher
  Gene Transfer, Escherichia coli, and Disease
From Recombinant DNA and Biotechnology: A Guide for Teachers, by Kruezer and Massey, 2001
  Bacterial Genes Swapping in Nature
From Scientific American, Robert V Miller, 1998
  Pass the Genes, Please
From Science News Online, Vol 158, No4, Pg60 only available to subscribers
  pBLU Plasmid Map
From Carolina Biological Supply Company
  Development of Molecular Genetics Growth Media for Escherichia coli
From Genetic Engineering News, Russell Hopper, 1995
  Bacterial Strain List
Table A.2, From Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 1989
  Basic Microbiology for Molecular Biologists
Unit 1.4, From Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 1989 
  Essential Features of Plasmids
From Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 1989 
Pipetting Teacher's Guide: Measure for Measure
  Student Protocol: Measure for Measure
  Gilson-Rainin Protocol Card
Transparencies Process of Bacterial Transformation
by Carter Hoffman, 1995
  Proposed Molecular Mechanism of DNA Transformation of E. coli
From DNA Science, pg 57
  Expression of Antibiotic Resistance by Transformed E. coli
From DNA Science, pg58

Frequently Asked Questions


The stability of ampicillin solutions is dependent on temperature and pH. Ampicillin solutions should not be autoclaved. Stock solutions (50 mg/ml) should be sterilized by filtration through a 0.22 μm filter.

Ampicillin solutions can be added to agars or culture media which have been autoclaved and cooled to 45-50 °C. Culture plates with ampicillin can be stored at 2-8 °C for up to two weeks.

Stock solutions may be stored at 2-8 °C for up to 3 weeks. For long term storage (4-6 months), stock solutions should be stored at -20 °C. At 37° C in culture, ampicillin is stable up to 3 days. 

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