Synthetic biology kit

Synthetic biology and genetic engineering is a fast paced area of biology and is covered in the A-level biology syllabus. Our synthetic biology kit allows students to practically experience synthetic biology.


  • Students will choose whether to make red or green fluorescent bacteria
  • They will use restriction enzymes to cut out their fluorescent gene of choice
  • Use ligase to insert this into a second plasmid
  • Then transform this into bacteria
  • They can visualise the spectacular results the following day using UV torches.

Key learning outcomes would include an understanding of:

  • How restriction enzymes and ligase work and their uses in genetic engineering
  • Marker genes and antibiotic resistance
  • Aseptic technique
  • How to transform bacteria and why steps such as heat shock are necessary

The kit is very flexible and can be taught in one go or split up over several lessons.


The kit contains sufficient materials for 2 classes of 8 pairs or groups.

  • 3 different plasmids (6 tubes, 2 of each)
  • Foil bags with coloured 0.5 ml tubes containing dried restriction enzymes (2 bags each containing 16 tubes)
  • Yellow 1.5 ml tubes containing wet ligase and buffer (16)
  • 8 micro-syringe units
  • Coloured 1.5 mL microcentrifuge tubes, red, green, purple and clear (50 in total)
  • Clear screw top 1.5 ml tubes for bacteria (20)
  • Long white graduated tips (100)
  • Yellow tips (10)
  • 1 ml syringes (2)
  • Foam floaters (4)
  • Ultraviolet keyring torches (2)
  • 25 µl fixed volume pipette (1)
  • Sterile Petri dishes (20)
  • Sterile transformation buffer (2 tubes)
  • Microwavable agar containing kanamycin
  • A slope culture of E. coli (Strain DH10B)
  • LB media for overnight broths in 50 ml tubes (4)
  • Sterile plastic 1ml pipettes (38)
  • Sterile inoculation loops (4)
  • Sterile spreaders (16)
  • Students’ guides (8)
  • Teacher and technicians’ guides (2)
  • Theory task sheets: (8 red and 8 green, if more are needed they can be photocopied)

Please note that the sterile pipettes, inoculation loops and spreaders are single use plastic items. They are not autoclavable and cannot be re-used.


  • Laboratory facilities suitable for microbiology, including Bunsen burners and lab coats
  • An incubator that can be set to 37 °C
  • An autoclave or pressure cooker
  • Waste pots and a suitable bench/discard jar disinfectant, such as 1% (w/v) Virkon® or 5% (v/v) Biocleanse®
  • Cups of crushed ice
  • Access to a minimum of 2 water baths
  • Access to a benchtop centrifuge (NCBE sell one for schools if you don’t have one)


The following replacement parts are available for the Synthetic biology kit:

  • E. coli DH10B (slope culture) ….. £19.00 (GBP)
  • LB agar (1 sachet) + IPTG and kanamycin ….. £23.10 (GBP)
  • 3 plasmids as in kit and transformation buffer (2 tubes of each plasmid or buffer) ………. £27.30 (GBP)
  • Dried restriction enzymes + ligase as in kit (32 tubes of restriction enzymes and 16 tubes of ligase)…..£54.00 (GBP)
  • Ultraviolet keyring torches (2) ….. £10.50 (GBP)
  • Students’ guides (8) ……*£14.00 (GBP)
  • Teacher and technicians’ guides (2)*£11.00 (GBP)
  • Long white graduated tips as in kit (100)…£14.00 (GBP)


Synthetic biology kit ….£180.00 (GBP)


Because the plasmid DNA and ligase in this kit should be stored frozen, kits will be despatched by first class post, Monday–Thursday only.

Please note that for safety reasons this kit is not generally available outside the UK (please enquire for details)