Proteins Found in Fetal Pig Organs

Overview & Concepts

Students will be investigating the proteins that are found in different types of tissues from their dissection of the fetal pig.  This will end the unit on the dissection of the fetal pig, but transition into the unit on tissues. The use of gel electrophoresis will enable the students to determine which proteins are found in different tissues.

Grade Level: 

Concepts Covered: 

Electrophoresis, fingerprinting, proteins associated with different organs

Prior Knowledge Required: 

Location of organs and structures along with their functions,  micropipetting, protein structure and charge

Activity Notes

Days to Teach: 

This will take 2 days to complete.


For the class:

  • BenchMark Protein Ladder    
  • hot water bath (95°C)
  • thermometer
  • 3% agarose in Tris-Glycine buffer
  • Tris-Glycine- Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) buffer
  • Coomassie blue stain
  • Destain
  • Plastic wrap

For each student group:

  • gel electrophoresis apparatus, electrodes, power supply
  • micropipet with micropipet tips
  • 6 microfuge buffer tubes6 empty microfuge tubes
  • gel
  • staining tray              
  • paper towel or kleenex
  • different tissues


Teaching Tips / Activity Overview: 

Have gels pre-made for the students.Use a fine sieve gel instead of the standard agarose gel.  Better banding will occur.  The time may have to be increased, though.

Day 1:  Lab on Gel Electrophoresis Analyzing Proteins

  • Follow directions in measuring and transferring liquids to different tubes so the proteins can be isolated from the tissue
  • Prepare the electrophoresis chamber so it can separate the proteins
  • After the separation of proteins the gel will be stained and destained until the next day.

Day 2:  Lab on Gel Electrophoresis Analyzing Proteins (continued from Day 1)

  • Upon viewing the gel with proteins that are similar and dissimilar to each of the organs, reasoning for this should be justified.  
  • Development of phylogenetic tree based upon similar and dissimilar proteins.   


  • Work on the questions in lab


Questions which are at the end of the lab will be evaluated.


I think it would be interesting to take the fetal pig information and compare it to organs from an adult pig and compare the proteins.  Would different proteins be expressed in an older specimen?



This lab was modified from The University of Arizona Biotech Project on Muscle Protein Electrophoresis using the student and teacher guides.

Academic Standards
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