Education Technology

NASA - Space Bugs

Activity Overview

The goal of this laboratory is to investigate the mechanisms responsible for physiological changes of the immune system, so that appropriate countermeasures or interventions can be developed for future human space exploration missions.


Students will:

  • analyze the nucleotide composition of DNA;
  • evaluate restriction maps of bacterial plasmids;
  • analyze models of DNA gel electrophoresis; and
  • predict the sizes of unknown DNA fragments by comparing them to known fragment sizes.

About the Lesson

In this activity, students are asked to analyze the basic composition of DNA. They will then look at how DNA is "cut up" with special molecular scissors (called restriction enzymes), so it can be analyzed. Finally, they will observe and evaluate the results of some simulated DNA gel electrophoresis trials.