Title

Design and Fabrication of Agarose Gel Electrophoresis (Age) Apparatus for Teaching Molecular Biology

Author

Zaldy Alima

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Science Education

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. rer, nat. Crisanto M. Lopez; Maria Katrina C. Constantino, MSc; Ivan B. Culaba, MSc

Abstract

In most developing countries like the Philippines, one of the significant issues in teaching science is the absence of necessary equipment and reagents to deliver 21st- century instruction. The use of laboratory equipment and educational materials are always costly and usually unavailable. To improve the delivery of abstract concepts in science particularly in Molecular Biology, one approach to address the lack of standard science equipment is the improvisation or innovation of teaching material. Gel electrophoresis is a widely used method to separate DNA molecules using a matrix subjected to an electric field. The molecular weight of the DNA can be estimated by comparing the DNA samples to a standard DNA marker of known molecular weight. The DNA is visualized using a fluorescent dye. The main goal of this research was to come up with a low-cost agarose gel electrophoresis apparatus for research and instructional purposes. The fabricated apparatus named Biomolecule Migration (BioMigZ) unit was mainly made of acrylic materials because of its excellent optical clarity, impact strength and it is much cheaper. The cost involved in the production of one unit and UV lamp source was P 2,300.00 and the purchase for reagents was P 6,300.00, a total of P 8,600.00. Five expert-raters validated the fabricated BioMigZ unit based on function and overall capability, quality of gel results, the durability of the materials, cost and expenses of materials, safety of its operation and maintenance, and environmental impact. The BioMigZ unit also underwent five electrophoresis runs by expert-raters. This was done to test if the apparatus would produce reliable results when compared to the performance of MUPID-One, a standard electrophoresis apparatus. Overall, the fabricated BioMigZ unit produced practically similar results in comparison to MUPID- v One in voltage supply, the thickness of the gel, relative mobility of DNA samples, and other observations like DNA migration and visualizations of the DNA bands after the apparatus was repeatedly run. The prototype electrophoresis unit passed all initial tests. Six units were fabricated and implemented to public science teachers through learning action cell (LAC) sessions. Based on the t-test result, there was a significant difference between electrophoresis pre-test and post-test for the proficiency level of teachers as the obtained t (20) = 16.525 and p = 0.001, which was less than 0.05 alpha level. From the generated themes of the FGD responses, the teachers believed that (1) lectures and in-depth discussion of DNA extraction and electrophoresis experiments were the most helpful parts of the LAC sessions; (2) the utilization of the fabricated electrophoresis apparatus was engaging; (3) handling of the equipment and getting the accurate values from them were some laboratory techniques teachers learned; (4) knowledge on electrophoresis was improved after participating in the study; (5) they could employ different strategies in teaching electrophoresis from traditional method to novel approaches; (6) through knowledge acquired they could fabricate and improvise their science equipment and implement in their classes; and (7) they found the content and methods for this study as excellent.

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