Calculations for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

1st Edition

A Guide to Mathematics in the Laboratory

Authors: Frank Stephenson
Paperback ISBN: 9780126657517
eBook ISBN: 9780080500614
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 30th June 2003
Page Count: 302
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Calculations in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology: A Guide to Mathematics in the Laboratory is the first comprehensive guide devoted exclusively to calculations encountered in the genetic engineering laboratory. Mathematics, as a vital component of the successful design and interpretation of basic research, is used daily in laboratory work. This guide, written for students, technicians, and scientists, provides example calculations for the most frequently confronted problems encountered in gene discovery and analysis. The text and sample calculations are written in an easy-to-follow format. It is the perfect laboratory companion for anyone working in DNA manipulation and analysis.

Key Features

*A comprehensive guide to calculations for a wide variety of problems encountered in the basic research laboratory.

  • Example calculations are worked through from start to finish in easy-to-follow steps
  • Key chapters devoted to calculations encountered when working with bacteria, phage, PCR, radioisotopes, recombinant DNA, centrifugation, oligonucleotides, protein, and forensic science. Written for students and laboratory technicians but a useful reference for the more experienced researcher. A valuable teaching resource.


Upper division students, technicians, professional lab workers, and professors teaching and working in molecular biology labs.

Table of Contents

Significant Digits,
Rounding Off Significant Digits in Calculations, Exponents and Scientific Notation,
Expressing Numbers in Scientific Notation,
Converting Numbers from Scientific Notation to Decimal Notation,
Adding and Subtracting Numbers Written in Scientific Notation,
Multiplying and Dividing Numbers Written in Scientific Notation,
Metric Prefixes,
Conversion Factors and Canceling Terms,

Section 2: Solutions, Mixtures, and Media
Calculating Dilutions: A General Approach,
Concentrations by a Factor of X,
Preparing Percent Solutions,
Diluting Percent Solutions,
Moles and Molecular Weight: Definitions,
Diluting Molar Solutions,
Converting Molarity to Percent,
Converting Percent to Molarity,
pKa and the Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation,

Section 3: Cell Growth
The Bacterial Growth Curve,
Manipulating Cell Concentration,
Plotting OD550 versus Time on a Linear Graph,
Plotting the Logarithm of OD550 vs Time on a Linear Graph,
Sample OD550 Data Converted to Log Values,
Plotting Log OD550 versus Time,
Plotting the Log of Cell Concentration versus Time,
Determining Log Values,
Calculating Generation Time,
Slope and Growth Constant,
Generation Time,
Plotting Cell Growth Data on a Semilog Graph,
Plotting OD550 vs Time on a Semilog Graph,
Estimating Generation Time from a Semilog Plot of OD550 vs Time, Plott


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© Academic Press 2003
Academic Press
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About the Author

Frank Stephenson

Frank Stephenson received his doctorate in molecular biology from UC Berkeley and has published several books in the field including 'DNA: How the Biotech Revolution is Changing the Way We Fight Disease' and 'A Hands-On Introduction to Forensic Science: Cracking the Case'. He is currently an instructor in the Technical Training Department with ThermoFisher Scientific, the world’s leading manufacturer of instrumentation and reagents for the biotechnology industry.

Affiliations and Expertise

Technical Training Department, ThermoFisher Scientific, San Diego, CA, USA