Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Identifying Markers of Heavy Metal Contamination in Idaho Streams: A Service-Learning Project in Biochemistry Lab

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ken Cornell and Dr. DeeAnn Force


The presence of heavy-metal resistance genes in stream bacteria is an indicator of environmental contamination. The mercuric reductase gene involved in confering heavy metal resistance was found on a large plasmid isolated from organisms living in a Northern Idaho stream. The gene was identified using bioinformatics, and its function being proven in Biochemistry lab through a series of experiments to clone and express the gene, and characterize its enzyme activity. Additional outreach activities are designed to introduce this project to High School students through a series of demonstrations, and to underscore the problem of water pollution in Idaho streams.