DNA Gel Electrophoresis Fingerprinting Virtual Lab

Everyone has unique fingerprints but what if there are no fingerprints left at a crime scene to identify a suspect?  How can officials identify guilty parties in a criminal case or identify unknown individuals?

Nova Video

Watch the following Nova video (6 minutes) for an introduction to answering the following question: How can DNA be used to identify one individual from another?

Video, http://www.teachersdomain.org/asset/tdc02_vid_sheppard/

Can DNA Demand a Verdict?

Can DNA alone be used to convict someone of a crime and demand a verdict?  Utah Genetics attempts to answer this question through the introduction of Gel Electrophoresis.  Read this short article, http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/science/forensics/

Gel Electrophoresis Virtual Lab

Gel Electrophoresis is a process that allows for the separation of DNA, RNA, or protein fragments.  Develop in the 1970s, this process is often used in forensic science to compare the DNA of different suspects in comparison to DNA evidence.  The process is completed by adding samples (DNA, RNA, or proteins) to an agarose gel and applying electrical current to separate the molecules within the sample based on molecular weight.  Gel Electrophoresis has become an extremely common tool in the laboratory in the analysis of DNA based samples.  Utah Genetic’s virtual lab will provide an introduction to carry out this common technique.

Introduction to Gel Electrophoresis:

  1. Open the Virtual Lab: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/labs/gel/
  2. What is the purpose of Gel Electrophoresis?

  1. What is the function of the “gel” in Gel Electrophoresis?

  1. What purpose does the electrical current serve during the process?

  1. Describe how the DNA separates during Electrophoresis

  1. Why must the agarose gel be stained?

Performing Gel Electrophoresis:

  1. Describe components necessary to perform Gel Electrophoresis:

  1. Briefly describe the steps to performing Gel Electrophoresis:

  1. What is the purpose of the DNA size standard?

  1. Once power is turned on, what indicates that the gel is running?

  1. What are your estimates of the DNA base pair lengths from the sample lab?

Assessment:

Lab Standard: Communication

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