Bacterial Transformation Kit

Explore how DNA codes for proteins that give cells visible characteristics by inserting a  pBLU and/or pGLO plasmid DNA into E. coli. Teachers have the option to let students work on optimizing the transformation procedure as a second component to the lab.
Illustration of petri dishes with blue E. coli
Illustration by Regina Wu

Kit Description

This kit contains everything needed for students to transform E. coli with one of our two plasmids, pBLU or pFLO. pBLU is a plasmid that contains the gene for beta-galactosidase, that when expressed and combined with X-Gal is used f as a visual indicator of a functional lacZ transformation. pFLO contains a type of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) gene that when expressed by E. coli will make them glow under blue LED or UV light. pFLO comes in 5 different colors and does not need X-Gal. 

  • SEP has 4 Transformation Kits
  • Each kit has 2 crates, an incubator, and a freezer box for plasmids 
  • Labs are designed for 8 groups of 4 students (32 students total). Make sure to tell us if your class is significantly different in size 
  • SEP teachers who have their own equipment may request supplies only

Curriculum and Units Supported by the Transformation Kit

Glowing colonies of E. coli

Bacterial Transformation Lab

In this lab, students transform E. coli with either the pBLU plasmid that contains the gene for beta-galactosidase (also referred to as the lacZ gene),or the pFLO plasmid that contains a gene derivative of GFP (green fluorescent protein).

Fred Hutch Logo painted with bacteria

Painting with Bacteria

In this lab, students can use the different colors produced by various pFLO plasmids to “paint” with transformed bacteria,incorporating art into the discussion of gene expression and microbiology.

Kit Sign Up Process

NOTE: Please give us a minimum of two weeks’ advance notice so we can process your request.

1. Complete Online Demographic Form (only needs to be done once, skip if already filled out) Estimated numbers are OK.

2. Fill out either the SCHOOL-YEAR KIT REQUEST form or SUPPLIES-ONLY form:


3: Confirmation Email: Once we have your items scheduled we will send a preliminary email summarizing your items and dates for pick up and drop off.