DNA Forensics Lab Introduction
In this lesson, students will use their understanding and skills from the “Getting Started Series” to solve a mystery using restriction enzymes to create a DNA fingerprint. Forensic science can employ restriction enzymes – commonly described as molecular scissors– that cut DNA at specific sequences. The variation in DNA from one person to the next in certain parts of the genome are so great that the probability of two people sharing the same DNA fingerprint pattern is essentially zero. Read More
After introducing the mystery at hand, students will perform a restriction digest, and then use gel electrophoresis to separate the resulting DNA fragments by size. Based on the results from their experiment, students make a conclusion citing their evidence – and perhaps suggest an answer to “Who done it?”
Similar techniques are applied to diverse areas of science. This approach can be used to investigate remains in an archeological site or to determine ancestry. Forensic science techniques are also commonly used in criminal, civil, public health, botany, anthropology, and conservation investigations.
Lesson Resources Student Guide – Download and edit student worksheets to be completed during the DNA Forensics Lab. Lesson Slides – Articulates with the student guide above and accompanying lesson plans below. Lesson Plan – Suggested times for pacing, sequence and activities for the lab. Includes vocabulary tool, background information, etc.
– Students will use evidence from their – experiments to support their stated claim
– Students can describe how restriction – enzymes can be used to differentiate – between variations in the sequence of – human DNA (and other organisms)
– Core skills in molecular biology including – micropipetting and gel electrophoresis – are appropriately applied by students – during their investigations
Disciplinary Core Ideas:
LS3.A – Inheritance of Traits
“…not all DNA codes for a protein…” The regions the restriction enzymes cut vary among individuals and typically do not code for a protein
LS3.B – Inheritance of Traits
“…distribution of traits on genetic and environmental factors”
Science and Engineering Practices:
– Planning and Carrying out Investigations
– Analyzing and Intercepting Data Patterns
Familiarity with the following biology concepts may be helpful for students prior to using the lesson resources.
– Getting Started Series Parts 1-3 from – BABEC to learn about DNA extraction, – Micropipetting, and gel electrophoresis
– Variation in DNA sequence (order of – bases) exists among humans and other – organisms