Molecule World: DNA Binding Lab

The Molecule World: DNA Binding Lab is a stand-alone lab activity with a set of "unknown structures" that students explore to learn about DNA structure and the interactions between DNA and other molecules.  This lab is appropriate for both high school and college students. 

Many fundamental steps in biology begin when proteins bind to DNA.  Proteins copy DNA, cut DNA, repair DNA, use DNA as a template to make RNA, wrap DNA up into structures that help it fit into the nucleus, and bind to DNA to control all of these processes.  Other molecules, such as anti-tumor drugs, or antibiotics can also bind DNA.  Sometimes these other molecules block activities like DNA replication and transcription.  Sometimes, they cause problems and lead to diseases like cancer.

In this digital biology lab, students work with molecular structures to identify the major and minor grooves in DNA and see what it looks like when proteins or drugs are binding to these regions. The Molecule World DNA Binding Lab lets you add molecular modeling to your classroom toolkit.  

A set of unknown structures provides an tool for assessment by letting each student investigate a different structure and determine if a protein or drug binds to the major groove, minor groove, or both, and capture an image to hand in as evidence to support their conclusion.  

***We have replaced this app with a collection of structures that can be used in Molecule World.   Go to the DNA Binding Lab structure collection to download the set of DNA structures and get the lab instructions.

Features

  • A set of 40 unknown structures, plus examples of DNA,  a molecule bound to minor groove, and a molecule bound to the major groove
  • Lab instructions and assessment tools
  • Manipulate structures with your fingertips
  • Color structures by molecule, residue, or chemical properties
  • Draw structures as ball & stick models, space fill models, or tubes
  • Use the color key to identify residues or properties

Now available! Free glossary and worksheet.

Are you a teacher or instructor?  Contact us to learn about the teacher guide!