Zoology Science Fair Projects Abstract
GRADE LEVEL: 12
CITY/STATE: Quincy, IL USA
To compare the relationships between fish at two different molecular levels; to see if there were any incongruities from our results to those found in traditional taxonomic relationships based on shared characteristics.
Traditional taxonomic phylogeny has been based upon physical characteristics, while biotechnology techniques such as protein electrophoresis examines fish at the molecular level. Isoenzyme electrophoresis is a more specific type of protein electrophoresis allowing the development of a dendogram. A dendogram is a tree like diagram used as a graphical representation of the results to show the similarity of the different genes of fish studied.
Samples of eye muscle, liver and skeletal muscle were taken from each fish and were subjected to vertical starch gel isoenzyme electrophoresis. Skeletal muscle suspensions were also sampled by protein electrophoresis. The results from the isoenzyme electrophoresis are in TABLE 1, and the results of the Protein electrophoresis are located in TABLE 2.
There was some disagreement with the results that we confounded. As seen in the dendogram, the sturgeon is represented as more closely related to the rest of the bony fishes than that of the Trout. But, likewise, the trout is more closely related to the bony fishes than that of the Sturgeon, which obviously shows some incongruities. Also, the buffaloes are shown grouping with the carps and not of the suckers from which they are traditionally placed. The other results from our tests are shown in agreement with traditional phylogeny. (In all, not every level of testing agreed with traditional taxonomy).
The protein and enzyme electrophoresis tests indicate that the protein similarity at the molecular level of the 15 – fish studies does not agree with every fish at traditional taxonomic level. Multiple fish would have been used to compare the results from two different fish from the same species if another run through of the tests could have been conducted. This could help to clarify the some of the incongruities of the results and those based on traditional taxonomy.
There were some limitations in the gathering of our data that could have affected the overall outcome of the results. When the proteins were injected into the wells of the starchy gels, some spill over could have happened. Human error is likely when performing these experiments, especially when trying to pippet the proteins into the specified wells.
Another possibility in both experiments is that there could have been air bubbles. When air bubbles are in the gels, the proteins are then blocked from traveling down in a straight line on the gels. Instead of proceeding straight down, the proteins attempt to dodge the bubble which then leads the proteins to travel into the neighboring well’s proteins.
What I would do differently next time?
If I could redo my project, I would run my whole project several times to ensure the viability of my data. I would also be more careful when conducting my experiments, based on my outcomes.
Did you have a mentor for your Zoology Science Fair Projects Abstract and Experiment? How did you find your mentor?
I actually had two mentors: Mrs Sarah Stewart and David P Philipp.
My primary mentor was my teacher, Mrs. Stewart, who was present during all of the procedures. I found her by taking classes with her for a couple of years.