Biology Laboratory Techniques
Hands on training
Biology is a hands on science, and biology students are usually required to spend some time in the laboratory.
The type of activities a student will perform vary depending on the exact field they are in. Plant geneticist, for example, sometimes spend time out in fields gathering plants, while molecular biologists may use complex equipment such as DNA sequencing machines. Even so, there are some basic techniques that all beginning lab students should understand.
- Laboratory safety and understanding warning signs
- Preparation of simple solutions
- Sampling and preparation of samples
- Dissection of plants and animals
- How to clean glassware
- Use of the dissecting scope
- Use of the light microscope
- Making accurate drawings of organisms
Research laboratories often require more advanced skills such as the following:
- Agarose gel Electrophoresis
- Use of a pH meter
- Use of a spectrophotometer
- Knowledge of distillation techniques
- Colony counting on agar plates
- Cell counting on slides containing grids
- Making a blood smear
Specialized work places will require other skills. Some skills suggested by subject.
Anatomy, Botany, General Biology
- Use of a microtome to make slides
- staining techniques
- Cell and tissue culture
- Patient sample handling techniques
- Making an accurate white blood cell count
- Antibody testing methods such as ELISA
- Use of micropipetter
- Knowledge of Southern and related blotting techniques
- Molecular cloning
- Use of restriction enzymes
- Use of PCR ( Polymerase Chain Reaction) machines
- Replica plating
- Growth of competent cells
Although books exist to teach these techniques, experienced lab workers have special tricks and techniques that they do not write down. That is why it is best to learn by studying with an experienced lab worker.
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