Featured in PASCO’s College Biology Instructor Guide

College Biology Instructor Guide


College Instructor edition with 26 experiments covering introductory and general biology topics.

Bacterial Transformation

Lab Summary

Use the tools of biotechnology to transform competent E.coli cells and then select for antibiotic resistance.


In this lab, students transform E. coli bacteria and screen them for the presence of antibiotic resistance. Students:

  • Investigate transformation as a mechanism of genetic exchange.
  • Create competent E. coli cells by chemically and thermally treating them.
  • Screen the transformed E. coli cells to determine which ones have been genetically altered.
  • Calculate the efficiency of transformation.


Students will gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Creating competent E. coli cells.
  • Using a plasmid, pAMP, as the vector to transform competent E. coli cells.
  • Selecting for transformed cells by selecting for ampicillin resistance.

Materials Used:

Calcium chloride solution - 500 ul
Clear labeling tape 
E.Coli starter plate 
Ice bath 
LB/Amp agar plate - 2
Luria Bertani (LB) agar plate - 2
Micropipettor with sterile tips 
pAmp plasmid - 10 ul
Sterile test tubes, 15-mL - 2
Sterile, glass spreading rod 
Water bath (42ºC) - 1 per class
Wax labeling pencil 
Wire inoculating loop

The Associated Bundle:

College Biology Bundle


A complete probeware bundle designed for PASCO's College Biology curriculum

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.